Since 1978, UMC has worked closely with WHO to help monitor the safety of medicines and vaccines. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the need to focus on strengthening vaccine surveillance systems globally and improving the collection and analysis of adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) reports. Since the start of the pandemic, UMC, under the guidance of WHO, worked with WHO PIDM member countries to support them with new and improved tools to collect and analyse AEFI, capacity building, training, and guidance on how to improve their vaccine surveillance systems.
In collaboration with WHO, we wanted to document the changing landscape of vaccine surveillance as well as UMC’s role in meeting the needs of the WHO PIDM, which led to the production of a short film: The WHO PIDM in focus - Vaccine Safety, I travelled to Thailand, Morocco, and Albania to join a series of WHO PIDM regional meetings and learn from programme members about the challenges they faced during the pandemic and what’s needed to improve vaccine safety in their countries and globally. It was fascinating to hear so many stories of the different contexts in which member countries work and I was inspired by the determination and resilience they showed during the pandemic to roll out the vaccines and monitor any adverse events, often in difficult circumstances.
The film touches on how the pandemic has shaped vaccine surveillance globally and how UMC has responded to these emerging challenges, by delivering tools such as VigiMobile which allows health professionals in the field to collect AEFI reports instantly, in even the most remote areas without an internet connection. The film features contributions from UMC staff, WHO experts, and the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
We hope the film contributes to a better understanding of why vaccine surveillance is so important and highlights the collaborative work within the WHO PIDM, that UMC is at the heart of.