Participant-centred active surveillance of adverse events following immunisation: a narrative review

Int Health. 2017 May 1;9(3):164-176. doi: 10.1093/inthealth/ihx019.


The importance of active, participant-centred monitoring of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) is increasingly recognised as a valuable adjunct to traditional passive AEFI surveillance. The databases OVID Medline and OVID Embase were searched to identify all published articles referring to AEFI. Only studies which sought participant response after vaccination were included. A total of 6060 articles published since the year 2000 were identified. After the application of screening inclusion and exclusion criteria, 25 articles describing 23 post-marketing AEFI systems were identified. Most countries had a single system: Ghana, Japan, China, Korea, Netherlands, Singapore, Brazil, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Cameroon except the USA (2), Canada (4) and Australia (6). Data were collected from participants with and without AEFI in all studies reviewed with denominator data enabling AEFI rate calculations. All studies considered either a single vaccine or specified vaccines or were time limited except one Australian system, which provides continuous automated participant-centred active surveillance of all vaccines. Post-marketing surveillance systems using solicited patient feedback are emerging as a novel AEFI monitoring tool. A number of exploratory systems utilising e-technology have been developed and their potential for scaling up and application in low and middle income countries deserves further investigation.

Keywords: AEFI; Adverse events; Immunisation; Post-marketing surveillance; Technology; Vaccine safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems*
  • Humans
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing*
  • Vaccines / adverse effects*


  • Vaccines