The Future of Vaccine Safety

Post date: Jul 31, 2012 10:18:39 AM

Amidst the breathtaking sights of Antipolo City and the equally engaging smiles of the staff of the Eugenio Lopez Center, medical professionals and other allied fields held a meeting of minds for the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination ( PFV ) seminar/workshop, the first of its kind in the Philippines, sponsored by three pharmaceutical companies, Aventis Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline and Marketlink.

The two-day seminar/workshop, bannered Vaccine Safety: Philippines 2003, proved to be a fruitful endeavor for doctors, nurses and pharmacists alike and provided a venue for exchange of ideas and knowledge in pressing matters concerning immunization.

The affair, which kicked off August 7,2003 tackled a myriad of topics, from pharmacovigilance, vaccine safety, to the creation of a Philippine system for reporting and surveillance, discussed by a number of prestigious and accomplished speakers in their fields coming from as far as France.

PFV President Dr. Lulu Bravo, opened the affair. First stop for the morning lectures was Dr. Elizabeth Loupi, who came all the way from France for a lecture on "Introduction to Immunization Safety and Pharmacovigilance" which was followed by an open forum facilitated by Dr. Anna Lisa Ong-Lim.

Dr. Loupi, the director for pharmacovigilance, training and compliance of Aventis Pasteur gave an interesting talk, which traced the history of pharmacovigilance and gave a background on immunization safety.

No less than Dr. Kenneth Hartigan Go shared his views on "The Similarities and Differences between Vaccines and Medicines."

He stressed that like medicines, vaccines may also cause adverse effects, and discussed the techniques for dealing with these effects. Dr. Cecilia S. Montalban acted facilitator and reactor during the open forum, which followed.

With the foundation for the understanding on Adverse Effects Following Immunization ( AEFI ) laid, it was high time to learn how to deal with these effects. Dr. Agnes B. Benegas of the NEC shared her expertise on the topic "Basic Principles of Surveillance," and gave listeners the background on how the existing surveillance system for AEFIs work. Dr. Benegas readily answered the questions of the audience which paved the way for a lively discussion with Dr. Nancy Bermal acting as facilitator.

[ Dr. Kenneth Hartigan Go spoke on "Understanding Vaccine Reactions" and the management of these reactions. He also shed light on the different kinds of AEFIs and the criteria for reporting these events. ]

After the hearty lunch, the participants were back to work in no time at all for the afternoon sessions with Dr. Alice B. Tamesis as chair for the rest of the afternoon and Dr. Anna Lisa Ong-Lim as rapporteur..

[ Dr. Salvacion R. Gatchalian gave her views on "Prevention and Management," which tackled different adverse reactions associated with specific vaccines and the management of these reactions. An open forum followed with Dr. Remedios F. Coronel as facilitator/reactor. ]

A question and answer portion followed, with Dr. Geraldine Crimen from the Department of Health as facilitator.

Dr. Eric A. Tayag discussed "Investigating AEFI: Basic Principles of Case Investigation". Participants later grouped themselves into five and brainstormed for the workshop given by Dr. Tayag. Each group was given their own case studies to discuss. The results were presented and analyzed. This was followed by Dr. Shelley Ann Dela Vega's lecture on "Introduction to Casuality Assessment".

The group then took a break and enjoyed the sumptuous dinner. The PFV officers held a business meeting to discuss the day's accomplishments and to prepare for the next day's agenda.

Participants then breathed in the sights of cool Antipolo with the lights of Manila flitting like fireflies.

The next day arrived with a drizzle and the overlooking view now obscured by the fog. This did not serve to dampen their spirits. Day Two proved to be an even more exciting day.

Dr. Kenneth Hartigan Go started the ball rolling as chair for the morning sessions. First on the list was a lecture on "Risk Benefit Analysis/Cost benefit delivered by Ms. Marissa Macaraeg-Laureta. Facilitating the discussion afterwards was Dr. Cynthia Santos-Ocampo Padilla.

Down the line, Drs. Teresita B. Sanchez and Alice B. Tamesis discussed the "Legal and Ethical Responsibilities of the EPI Program Managers" and the liabilities of those administering vaccines and how to deal with cases of AEFI events in legal aspects. An interesting and informative discussion followed, with Dr. Sanchez addressing questions from participants regarding legalities in the profession.

After lunch, the afternoon sessions were opened with Dr. Salvacion R. Gatchalian as chair.

Dr. Kenneth Hartigan Go gave his views on "Communicating with Parents/Health Workers/Media" which was highlighted by the role-playing participated by chosen attendees acting out their part with much gusto. The audience discussed whether the manner of communicating with the respective persons involved really worked. Dr. go stressed the importance of media, not only in the advocacy campaign for vaccination but also in the great role they play in improving the relationship of the public and the medical community.

Participants and organizers agreed that there is a great need for a Philippine system for surveillance of AEFIs. This was exactly what Dr. Alvin Marcelo did when he gave his presentation on "Creating the Philippine System for AEFI Training, Reporting and Surveillance" along with Drs. Go and Tayag to cap the event. Dr. Marcelo talked on the technological aspects of creating the Philippine System, which will start with the Alerting System through SMS ( Short Messaging System ), or text messaging to give reporters easy access to alert authorities about an AEFI.

At the end of the seminar, both participants and organizers agreed that there is still much to learn about Vaccine Safety and the Management of AEFIs. It was decided that education is the key to all these, which will involve vaccine safety training for regional authorities, medical societies, local government officials and even the media as key participants.

The workshop was a very fruitful endeavor indeed, and we can look forward to a Vaccine Safe Philippines, thanks to PFV.