(CMC) — The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) has introduced an online reporting form to assist immunisation programmes within ministries of health to collect case reports of adverse events following immunisation with COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the World Health Organization, an adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) is “any untoward medical occurrence which follows immunisation and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of the vaccine. The adverse event may be any unfavourable or unintended sign, abnormal laboratory finding, symptom or disease”.
“The reporting of an AEFI does not mean the event has been caused by the vaccine, or that the person who gave the vaccine made an error, but it is an important part of helping the national authorities to identify events that may need to be investigated further,” explained Dr Joy St John, CARPHA’s executive director.
“The information from investigations and data analyses will assist member states in identifying the types of reactions that persons are experiencing, and any additional monitoring or regulatory actions that may be needed.”
The online reporting form is designed to provide an additional avenue to assist with reporting, particularly by busy health professionals or the public who are unable to visit the vaccination centres in person.
The Trinidad-based CARPHA said it anticipates that this endeavour will also minimize the need for a physical presence at health facilities.
Each report will be received by CARPHA-CRS, and each will be forwarded to the respective ministry of health for local follow-up by the immunisation programme personnel. This form may be used for any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines.
Individuals who experience an AEFI are encouraged to speak with a health professional who can advise on the medical aspects, and/or assist to complete the online form which can be accessed at: https://form.jotform.co/210037487099865.
The CRS is an initiative of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and is managed as a regulatory unit within CARPHA, with support from the Pan American Health Organization and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.