Inter-country training workshop on vaccine safety management and communications

24–28 February 2014, Astana, Kazakhstan 

The overall objective of the workshop is to improve the capacity, quality and effectiveness of responses to vaccine-safety-related events in the WHO European Region. The workshop is expected to focus on areas of improving decision making, response time and quality, and the technical capacity and expertise of ministries of health and national immunization programmes to address public and health worker vaccine safety concerns.

The training will refer to the recently published "Vaccine safety events: managing the communications response - a guide for ministry of health EPI managers and health promotion units" and to a vaccine safety management guideline document that is under development.

Both documents are a direct response to a call from Member States for technical guidance and support on vaccine safety management and communications – particularly in circumstances where real or perceived vaccine-related adverse events are affecting trust and confidence.

The specific objectives of the training workshop are:

  • to provide training in the management of adverse events following immunization by national and district-level health staff;
  • to provide training for immunization programme managers in communicating with the media, the public and health workers about vaccine safety issues;
  • to provide participants with insights relating to the anti-vaccine movements, and to suggest ways of handling them;
  • to explore with participants ways to minimize the occurrence of vaccine safety events;
  • to field-test all workshop training materials and to modify them accordingly;
  • to train a cadre of professionals who will be able to run similar courses at national levels in the future as needed.

Participants will include ministry of health officials (national immunization programme managers and staff in charge of immunization communications and vaccine safety, national regulatory authority staff) of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The workshop is organized by the Vaccine-preventable Diseases and Immunization Programme of the WHO Regional Office for Europe and will also be attended by resource persons from WHO headquarters.

Expected outcomes of the meeting are improved, better coordinated and more effective responses to vaccine safety events in each of the Member States attending the training. The training also aims to provide an opportunity to share vaccine safety and crisis communications experience from across the Region.