Feasibility study for identifying adverse events attributable to vaccination by record linkage

Epidemiol Infect. 1995 Jun;114(3):475-80. doi: 10.1017/s0950268800052183.


To investigate the feasibility of using a record linkage method for identifying vaccine attributable adverse events, computerized hospital admissions and vaccination records from South East Kent district were linked and checked for accuracy. Records for 90% of children under 2 years of age admitted to hospital over a 2-year period were matched with vaccination records using a computer algorithm based on name, date of birth, sex, and post-code supplemented by visual inspection. Relative to this gold standard, matching on date of birth, sex and postcode alone had a sensitivity of 60% and an incorrect match rate of 0.2% after matches to more than one vaccine recipient were excluded. Manual checking of a sample of admissions showed that only 4% had been assigned incorrect International Classification of Disease (ICD) codes. Routine record linkage of ICD admission codes to vaccination records therefore yields data of good quality which may be used for surveillance purposes.

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Algorithms
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease / classification
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Medical Record Linkage*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vaccination / adverse effects*