Communicate only reliable information

Before beginning a consultation or leading a training/education session, all health workers must carefully evaluate the reliability and validityValidityThe degree to which an estimate reflects the true value of what it purports to measure. of the information they give to clients, patients or professional colleagues.

The national AEFI coordinator is responsible for ensuring that a critical review of the vaccine literature is available to health workers.

Ensuring that the literature, library or database is accurate, and up to date, supports effective communication in several ways:

  • It ensures that up-to-date vaccination policies and procedures are applied at the national level,
  • It facilitates effective management of rumours and community concerns arising from poor science or misleading reports in the media,
  • It supports the detection, investigation and decision-making about actions needed in response to new safety concerns. These may originate from other places/countries or may occur during the introduction of new vaccines.

Before acting on new information about vaccine safety in the scientific literature, ensure that you critically review the published material yourself if this is within your expertise.

You can also seek advice from an expert who is qualified and trained to conduct an evaluation. Such experts can be persons from the National immunization programme (NIP) or the National regulatory authority (NRA). If appropriate expertise is limited or inaccessible, obtain guidance from international sources, such as the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) or WHO’s Vaccine Safety Net. The WHO evaluation of whether MMR vaccine increases the incidence of autism is a good example of an expert evaluation by the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, responding to information needs of the public.