Mass vaccination campaigns

A mass vaccination campaign is a particular challenge to AEFI surveillance. It involves administration of vaccine doses to a large population over a short period of time. As a result, adverse events may be more noticeable to staff and to the public.

Common safety issues or concerns in vaccination campaigns include the following points.26

A campaign is an opportunity to strengthen or establish AEFI surveillance. National Immunization Programmes (NIP) are a vital part of surveillance of AEFI, particularly with regards to detection and investigation of AEFI in the field during a mass vaccination campaign.

To assist immunization managers prepare and plan for safety issues associated with immunization campaigns, WHO provides a comprehensive checklist in an aide-memoire, which you can view here:

Safety of mass immunization campaigns

Key point

A campaign is an opportunity for community outreach and education about local diseases and the vaccinations used to prevent them.

Adverse events and their effects during a campaign can be minimized by proper planning aimed to reduce immunization errors. Components of such planning include thorough training of staff, monitoring and responding to AEFIs, and engaging the community. It can also be helpful to train staff on how to respectfully treat persons being immunized and their families. This may limit the potential for negative publicity from an AEFI.