Special issue on Immunisation Information Systems (IIS)
IIS - a robust and systematic approach to monitoring safety and effectiveness of immunisation programmes
Eurosurveillance, Volume 22, Issue 17, 27 April 2017
Table of Contents
We describe characteristics of an ongoing measles outbreak in Wallonia, Belgium, and difficulties in control measures implementation. As at 12 March 2017, 177 measles cases were notified, of which 50% were 15 years and older, 49% female. Atypical clinical presentation and severe complications, mainly among adults, in combination with late notification, low or unknown vaccination coverage of contacts, infected healthcare workers and increased workload due to contact tracing, are the main concerns for outbreak management.
Immunisation Information Systems (IIS) are computerised confidential population based-systems containing individual-level information on vaccines received in a given area. They benefit individuals directly by ensuring vaccination according to the schedule and they provide information to vaccine providers and public health authorities responsible for the delivery and monitoring of an immunisation programme. In 2016, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) conducted a survey on the level of implementation and functionalities of IIS in 30 European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries. It explored the governance and financial support for the systems, IIS software, system characteristics in terms of population, identification of immunisation recipients, vaccinations received, and integration with other health record systems, the use of the systems for surveillance and programme management as well as the challenges involved with implementation. The survey was answered by 27 of the 30 EU/EEA countries having either a system in production at national or subnational levels (n = 16), or being piloted (n = 5) or with plans for setting up a system in the future (n = 6). The results demonstrate the added-value of IIS in a number of areas of vaccination programme monitoring such as monitoring vaccine coverage at local geographical levels, linking individual immunisation history with health outcome data for safety investigations, monitoring vaccine effectiveness and failures and as an educational tool for both vaccine providers and vaccine recipients. IIS represent a significant way forward for life-long vaccination programme monitoring.
In Germany, routine childhood varicella vaccination was implemented in 2004 with two doses recommended since 2009. We used an immunisation information system based on countrywide health insurance claims data to analyse vaccine effectiveness (VE) and factors influencing VE. We applied proportional hazard models to estimate VE under various conditions and compared the risk of acquiring varicella among unvaccinated children in regions with high vs low vaccination coverage (VC). Among 1.4 million children we identified 29,404 varicella cases over a maximum follow-up of 8 years post-vaccination. One-dose VE was 81.9% (95% confidence interval (CI): 81.4–82.5), two-dose VE 94.4% (95% CI: 94.2–94.6). With dose one given 1–27 days after measles-containing vaccine (MCV), one-dose VE was 32.2% (95% CI: 10.4–48.6), two-dose VE 92.8% (95% CI: 84.8–96.6). VE was not associated with age at vaccination (11–14 vs ≥ 15 months), time since vaccination, or vaccine type. Unvaccinated children had a twofold higher risk of acquiring varicella in low VC regions. Our system generated valuable data, showing that two-dose varicella vaccination provides good protection for at least 8 years. Unvaccinated children benefit from herd effects. When the first varicella vaccine dose is given shortly after MCV, a second dose is essential.
We evaluated a national intervention of sending written reminders to parents of children lacking childhood vaccinations, using the Danish Vaccination Register (DDV). The intervention cohort included the full birth cohort of 124,189 children born in Denmark who reached the age of 2 and 6.5 years from 15 May 2014 to 14 May 2015. The reference cohort comprised 124,427 children who reached the age of 2 and 6.5 years from 15 May 2013 to 14 May 2014. Vaccination coverage was higher in the intervention cohort at 2.5 and 7 years of age. The differences were most pronounced for the second dose of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR2) and the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-polio vaccine DTaP-IPV4 among the 7-year-olds, with 5.0 percentage points (95% confidence interval (CI): 4.5–5.4) and 6.4 percentage points (95% CI: 6.0–6.9), respectively. Among the 2.5 and 7-year-olds, the proportion of vaccinations in the preceding 6 months was 46% and three times higher, respectively, in the intervention cohort than the reference cohort. This study indicates a marked effect of personalised written reminders, highest for the vaccines given later in the schedule in the older cohort. In addition, the reminders increased awareness about correct registration of vaccinations in DDV.
In 2014, Norway became aware of potential low vaccination coverage for the second dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR2) in six of 19 counties. This was detected by comparing the national coverage (NC) for 16-year-olds extracted from the national immunisation registry SYSVAK with the annual status update for elimination of measles and rubella (ASU) reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). The existing method for calculating NC in 2014 did not show MMR2 coverage. ASU reporting on MMR2 was significantly lower then the NC and below the WHO-recommended 95% coverage. SYSVAK is based on the Norwegian personal identification numbers, which allows monitoring of vaccinations at aggregateded as well as individual level. It is an important tool for active surveillance of the performance of the Norwegian Childhood Immunisation Programme (NCIP). The method for calculating NC was improved in 2015 to reflect MMR2 coverage for 16-year-olds. As a result, Norway has improved its real-time surveillance and monitoring of the actual MMR2 coverage also through SYSVAK (the annual publication of NC). Vaccinators receive feedback for follow-up if 15-year-olds are missing MMR2. In 2017, only three counties had an MMR2 coverage below 90%.
Computerised, population-based vaccination registers are valuable tools for assessing the vaccine uptake and impact in populations. However, reliable impact assessment is only possible if the data quality can be reviewed and monitored continuously. This report describes the establishment and maintenance of the National Vaccination Register (NVR) in Finland. Currently, the NVR covers nationwide records of vaccinations given within the frame of the National Vaccination Programme since 2009. All vaccinations registered in the NVR contain a record of the personal identity code, the administered vaccine, and the date of vaccination. The vaccine lot number is the key component for recording and identifying vaccinations, because of its broad availability across patient information systems and its importance in vaccine safety monitoring. Vaccination records are accumulated and updated daily into the NVR, and their completeness is monitored monthly to assess deficiencies in data entry and data collection. Additionally, an alert system reports unexpected changes in data accumulation prompting the validation of observed changes in vaccination coverage. The presented process documentation may serve as basis to improve the design and quality of other vaccination or healthcare registers and aims to inspire the set-up of vaccination registers in those countries which still do not have one.
Eurosurveillance Edition: 27 April 2017
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