Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance System


vaccination_websmallThe Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance system (WAVSS) tracks adverse reactions in recipients of flu vaccinations and it is the central vaccination reporting service in WA .

In 2014, the WAVSS project won a South Australian iAward in the Health category  and was also ranked as one of the top four 2014 innovations by Australian Doctor Magazine.

It provides expert immunisation safety advice to reporters and health-care workers, and provides clinical services for children and adults who have experienced an adverse event following immunisation.

Previously the Western Australia Department of Health used to capture data related to influenza vaccination manually via spread sheet. This was a manual and time consuming process. There was an identified need to automate the process via a web portal and to integrate a SMS (Short Message Service) notification system to capture responses from patients that are immunised.

The Improvement Foundation worked with the Western Australia Department of Health to develop a web portal for their Vaccine Safety Surveillance system. Patients who opt-in receive an SMS 24 hours after the vaccination, which asks whether they have experienced an adverse reaction. The patient responds with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. A ‘yes’ triggers a second SMS with a link to an online, mobile-optimised questionnaire to triage the severity of the event. If required the recipient is directly followed up by a health professional. Data relating to the short survey are provided to the WA Department of Health for further evaluation and monitoring. The technology is designed for smartphone usage, making the system simpler and easier than the previous, manual system that relied on individual phone calls and self-serve questionnaires.

The portal gathers the results of the text messages responses and an online survey gathers more data related to vaccination reactions. The data collected is used to provide reports on the safety of vaccines and to allow intervention if required to stop the use of contaminated batches.  The fast reporting on adverse reactions enabled by the portal enables the Western Australian Department of Health to establish the safety profile of the influenza vaccine within a few weeks of flu vaccination season, allowing immediate intervention, if necessary. By getting as much information about adverse events following immunisation, WAVSS can make sure that they detect possible problems with vaccines or systems as early as possible if they do occur. This ensures WA has a safe immunisation program.

WAVSS is supported by the WA Department of Health’s Communicable Disease Control Directorate and is based at the Central Immunisation Clinic. WAVSS can provide expert clinical review of reported adverse events, and if needed, vaccination under careful supervision in a medical facility.

For further information visit the WAVSS web portal.

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