Only few health intervention programs have been as successful as vaccination programs with respect to
preventing morbidity and mortality in developing countries. However, the success of a vaccination program is threatened
by rumors and misunderstanding about the risks of vaccines. It is short-sighted to plan the introduction of vaccines into
developing countries unless effective vaccine safety monitoring systems are in place. Such systems that track adverse
events following immunization (AEFI) is currently lacking in most developing countries. Therefore, any rumor may affect
the entire vaccination program. Public health authorities should implement the safety monitoring system of vaccines, and
disseminate safety issues in a proactive mode.
Effective safety surveillance systems should allow for the conduct of both traditional and alternative epidemiologic
studies through the use of prospective data sets. The vaccine safety data link implemented in Vietnam in mid-2002
indicates that it is feasible to establish a vaccine safety monitoring system for the communication of vaccine safety in
developing countries. The data link provided the investigators an opportunity to evaluate AEFI related to measles vaccine.
Implementing such vaccine safety monitoring system is useful in all developing countries. The system should be able to
make objective and clear communication regarding safety issues of vaccines, and the data should be reported to the public
on a regular basis for maintaining their confidence in vaccination programs.