Vaccines are one of society’s greatest success stories, but like any treatment, there can be rare adverse events and they must be tested carefully. With a massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign on the horizon, Canadian researchers have launched a pilot study that could lead to a new approach for tracking vaccine safety.
The approach allows individual Canadians to report vaccine-related adverse events using the award-winning CANImmunize app and digital platform. CANImmunize was launched by researchers at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa in 2011 and became a startup company in 2019.
CANImmunize’s vaccine safety reporting feature is now being tested as part of flu vaccine campaigns at The Ottawa Hospital and the Family Immunization Clinic at BC Children’s Hospital. Individuals who agree to participate in the study will be randomly assigned to report any adverse events using CANImmunize or the traditional online survey.
The study is a partnership with the Canadian Immunization Research Network’s Canadian National Vaccine Safety Network (CANVAS). It is funded by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and The Ottawa Hospital Academic Medical Association (TOHAMO). CANImmunize provided in-kind support. The research team includes Katherine Atkinson, Dr. Julie Bettinger, Dr. Dean Fergusson, Dr. Alan Forster, Dr. Doug Manuel, Dr. Anne McCarthy and Dr. Kumanan Wilson.
“CANVAS plays an important role in monitoring the safety of the annual flu vaccine,” said Dr. Julie Bettinger, lead investigator at CANVAS, investigator at BC Children’s Hospital and associate professor in the UBC Department of Pediatrics. “We are excited to explore this innovative method of expanding the reach of CANVAS using the CANImmunize platform.”
“A COVID-19 vaccine may be on the way! Tracking the safety of the vaccine will be an important part of the roll-out,” said Dr. Kumanan Wilson, founder of CANImmunize, senior physician scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa. “CANImmunize working with CANVAS could provide a unique digital solution to help monitor the safety of a new vaccine.”