This page is optimized for a taller screen. Please rotate your device or increase the size of your browser window.

Preparing for Pandemic Influenza: The Integrated Vaccine Surveillance System (IVSS)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – which was concerned about the optimal use of a new pandemic influenza vaccine – undertook preparedness initiatives and developed recommendations for state and local health departments. These include: tracking and coverage information, monitoring adverse event rates, collecting data on vaccine effectiveness, vaccine supply and distribution, and vaccine safety.

As part of its planning for an outbreak, the CDC wanted to develop safety monitoring systems for pandemic influenza vaccination. These systems should actively monitor, record, and analyze all events associated with administration of the pandemic influenza vaccine. CDC wanted to develop and test a system that was:

  • Flexible enough to serve an undetermined number of vaccines;
  • Mobile enough to serve public health workers throughout the U.S. who may disperse after being vaccinated; and
  • Easy to use in order to ensure high rates of compliance with reporting protocols. 

As a broader goal, the reporting system needed to help assure the safety of vaccines and provide data to guide policy and planning for any future widespread vaccination.

Abt Global designed and built the Integrated Vaccine Surveillance System (IVSS), a system for monitoring adverse vaccine reactions. This real-time prospective active information system – as contrasted with a passive system that uses retrospective data – can quickly guide decisions related to vaccination programs as well as help plan for future large-scale vaccination programs. Abt conducted a small-scale pilot test in fall 2007 and a larger pilot test in fall 2008.

The IVSS allowed pilot participants to report their status daily for two weeks after being vaccinated. They reported online or by phone using an interactive voice response system. Participants who did not login or call to report their post-vaccination status were contacted by telephoned using computer-assisted telephone Interviewing (CATI) to obtain the necessary information. Health departments in Montgomery County, Md. and Cambridge, Mass. tested the system at flu vaccination clinics during the 2008 annual influenza vaccination season. This system can be modified and expanded for future tracking of reactions to a new vaccine, such as avian flu.

A follow-up project from 2008 to 2012 included three primary tasks:

  • Conducting the expanded pilot test in Washington D.C. and Boston;
  • Training CDC and state vaccine safety staff on the system; and
  • Assessing the feasibility of integrating the system with the CDCs Vaccine Adverse Reactions Response System (VAERS).