Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD)
The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) is a collaborative project between CDC's Immunization Safety Office and nine health care organizations. The VSD started in 1990 and continues today in order to monitor safety of vaccines and conduct studies about rare and serious adverse events following immunization.
The VSD uses electronic health data from each participating site. This includes information on vaccines - the kind of vaccine that is given to each patient, date of vaccination, and other vaccinations given on the same day. The VSD also uses information on medical illnesses that have been diagnosed at doctors’ offices, urgent care visits, emergency department visits, and hospital stays. The VSD conducts vaccine safety studies based on questions or concerns raised from the medical literature and reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). When there are new vaccines that have been recommended for use in the United States or if there are changes in how a vaccine is recommended, the VSD will monitor the safety of these vaccines.
The VSD has a long history of monitoring and evaluating the safety of vaccines. Since 1990, investigators from the VSD have published many studies to address vaccine safety concerns. Examples of VSD’s work include the following:
- Are vaccines that contain additives safe for children? How about vaccines with preservatives?
- Are rotavirus vaccines safe for infants?
- Do vaccines cause febrile seizures?
- Are there safety concerns following HPV vaccine?
- Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Seattle, Washington
- Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Boston, Massachusetts
- HealthPartners Research Foundation, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, Oregon
- Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California, Oakland, California
- Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver, Colorado
- Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, Atlanta, GA
- Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin
- Southern California Kaiser Permanente Health Care Program, Los Angeles, California
- To conduct research on important vaccine safety questions in large populations
- To conduct vaccine safety studies that come from questions or concerns in the medical literature or from other vaccine safety systems, like VAERS
- To monitor possible adverse events when new vaccines are licensed or when there are new vaccine recommendations
- To provide information to committees who make recommendations for the nation
Rapid Cycle Analysis (RCA) allows VSD to detect adverse events following vaccination in near real time so the public can be informed quickly of possible risks.