Moderna jab safety scrutinised


Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Source: Flickr/Governor Tom Wolf under Creative Commons licence.

A national vaccine safety surveillance program, AusVaxSafety, is to accompany the rollout of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

AusVaxSafety is working with the University of Western Australia and medication management platform MedAdvisor to monitor the safety of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as it starts to be rolled out around Australia during the next fortnight.

The Moderna vaccine will only be offered in pharmacies.

The pharmacy-linked active surveillance system monitors adverse events following immunisation in near real-time, following up on patients in the days after their vaccine is administered.

Data on adverse events is linked directly to AusVaxSafety, Australia’s active vaccine safety surveillance system, giving authorities and the public a clear picture of the adverse event profile of vaccines used in the community.

Around Australia, 1,800 community pharmacies are expected to receive the Moderna vaccine at the end of this week and a further 1,800 pharmacies are expected to come on board next week.

Dr Sandra Salter from UWA’s School of Allied Health, in collaboration with MedAdvisor and SmartVax, led the development and 2020 pilot of the pharmacy-based active vaccine safety surveillance system.

In 2021, this technology enables AusVaxSafety to monitor safety of COVID-19 vaccines given in pharmacies, she said.

Dr Salter said the system used secure cloud technology to link vaccinations to the smartphone-based tool, SmartVax. This system collects and reports an individual’s experience following immunisation to AusVaxSafety and could be used for safety surveillance of any vaccine.

“Vaccinations recorded by pharmacists automatically upload to the patient’s record on the Australian Immunisation Register, patients automatically receive monitoring on days three, eight and 42 after each COVID-19 vaccine dose, and serious reactions can be sent to state health authorities and the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” Dr Salter said.

Pharmacies around Australia have already administered more than 442,000 COVID-19 vaccinations with 11% of total COVID-19 vaccinations delivered in pharmacy during the past seven days.

This percentage is likely to increase significantly with the introduction of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, say the stakeholders.

Robert Read, CEO of MedAdvisor, said pharmacies now accounted for almost 33% of all COVID-19 vaccination sites in Australia.

“More than 70% of pharmacy vaccinations are recorded through the MedAdvisor platform, and we are pleased that our software is playing an important part in the safe rollout of vaccines to the community,” Mr Read said.

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