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Assessing vaccine safety communication with healthcare providers in a large urban county

Authors

  • Dana Meranus,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
    • Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
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  • Andy Stergachis,

    1. Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
    2. Global Medicines Program, Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
    3. Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
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  • Jenny Arnold,

    1. Pharmacy Practice Development, Washington State Pharmacy Association, Renton, WA, USA
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  • Jeffrey Duchin

    1. Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology & Immunization Section, Public Health–Seattle and King County, Seattle, WA, USA
    2. Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
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  • This research was conducted at the University of Washington School of Public Health, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice.

D. Meranus, 1107 NE 45th Street, Ste. 400, Box 354809, Seattle, WA 98105, USA.

E-mail: dmeranus@uw.edu

ABSTRACT

Purpose

Vaccination is the primary public health tool for influenza control. Rapid assessment of the safety of any widely disseminated pandemic influenza vaccine is a public health priority. This study identifies practices, strengths, and weaknesses of vaccine-associated adverse event (AE) reporting to inform public health systems improvement.

Methods

A survey was developed with local and state health agencies' input. After pre-testing, the survey was distributed online and via mail to a random sample of King County, WA, healthcare professionals, composed of 60 commercial vaccinator employees and school health nurses, 500 physicians, and 300 pharmacists.

Results

The response rate was 36%. Results indicate that if an AE was suspected, 17% of respondents would not know how to report it, with 61% of respondents citing unclear definitions of a reportable AE as a barrier and 18% of respondents unaware of whose responsibility it is to report an AE.

Conclusion

Healthcare professionals who provide immunizations need additional information on their role in vaccine safety and AE reporting. Strengthening both passive and active reporting systems can enhance surveillance efforts during real-time events, such as mass immunization during a pandemic and other large-scale emergency countermeasure distribution programs. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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