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Consortium established to monitor COVID-19 vaccines after marketing

A new consortium has been formed for the study of COVID-19 vaccines after their approval, to monitor their safety and efficacy.

Vaccine

The Consortium for Monitoring the Safety and Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines is a new group that has been formed to monitor COVID-19 vaccines post-marketing. It has been established by the Drug Safety Research Unit (DSRU) in Southampton and the Medicines Monitoring Unit (MEMO Research) at the University of Dundee, both UK.

Developers of vaccines are required to demonstrate quality, safety and efficacy for their products before members of the public start receiving them. Therefore it is necessary to conduct post-marketing observational studies to monitor the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines to fill any gaps in knowledge from pre-marketing clinical trials. According to the new consortium, it is important these studies report in real-time any safety or lack of effectiveness signals so that action can be taken in a timely way.

Professor Saad Shakir of the DSRU, said: “It is well-known that a safe and effective vaccine is vital for protecting the public from COVID-19. The usual development process for a vaccine, including proving its safety and effectiveness, would be expected to take as long as 12 to 15 years. In order that COVID-19 vaccines can be available as soon as possible, the usual development process will be contracted to a few months. This means that prior to release, the efficacy of the vaccine will be assessed using biomarkers and limited clinical data. Therefore, it is essential to conduct thorough monitoring of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine at the post-marketing stage.”

Professor Isla Mackenzie of the University of Dundee, said: “The members of the consortium have well-honed expertise in conducting post-marketing surveillance of vaccines, following many years’ experience of monitoring the safety of seasonal influenza and swine flu vaccines. The establishment of this consortium provides a unique opportunity to conduct the essential post-marketing surveillance in real-world conditions. This is a vital part of ensuring that any vaccine can be safely deployed around the world.”

The consortium will invite members of the public who will receive a COVID-19 vaccines to take part in the study. Those who agree will be contacted at set points after vaccination to check on their health.

The consortium is soon expected to expand and discussions are already underway with other interested organisations.

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