6.6 Vaccination quality and safety

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    6.6.1 Vaccine quality

    At each level (capital, peripheral areas):

    • For vaccines: check the name, where the delivery originated, the label, the expiry date, the quantity delivered and the lot number.
    • The composition and volume of diluent can vary. Check that the diluent supplied corresponds to the vaccine (type, labelling, quantity and expiry date) and use only diluent provided by the manufacturer. In case of accidental loss of diluent, contact the pharmacist or manufacturer for advice on what to do.
    • After a vaccination session, unused vials of reconstituted vaccine absolutely must be thrown away.
    • The first time a vaccine is received or when receiving a vaccine from a different manufacturer, read the package insert to learn the specifics about the product.
    • Examine the products (the diluent should be clear and have no sediment).
    • Check to make sure there was no cold chain failure during vaccine transport: the vaccine vial monitor (Appendix 41), thermometer and temperature sheet, and Stop!Watch® card.


    Note: any cold chain failure can reduce vaccine effectiveness. If there has been a break in the cold chain, quarantine the vaccines in a refrigerator between +2 °C and +8 °C, marked “DO NOT USE”, until the pharmacist in charge makes a decision. Fill out the cold chain failure report (Appendix 42).


    That report:

    • describes the incident: location, date, circumstances, cause of problem, actions taken, name of person reporting.
    • details:
      • the list of products with the manufacturer’s name, the lot number and the quantities;
      • the indications given by the temperature monitors (thermometer, VVM and Stop!Watch® card).

    Quarantined vaccines may not be used until the person in charge gives authorisation after analysing the report.

    6.6.2 Injection safety

    Aseptic technique must be used at every step (vaccine reconstitution, syringe preparation and storage). See Appendix 34.


    Ask about any injection safety problems during previous campaigns.


    To ensure injection safety:

    • Use only auto-disable syringes with a fixed needle to administer the vaccine. These are single-use and impossible to reuse.
    • Collect, transport, and dispose of waste in an appropriate manner.
    • Follow the bundle policy for supply:
      Orders and funding routinely include vaccines
      + auto-disable syringes + syringes for reconstitution
      + sharps collection and disposal containers (safety boxes).


    • Educate all personnel on the risks of technical errors:
      • infection of personnel due to accidental needle stick;
      • local infection due to nonsterile injection (handling error during preparation or injection);
      • viral transmission (hepatitis B and C and HIV) due to reuse of injection supplies;
      • vaccine inefficacy due to reconstitution error or storage problem.
    • Monitor best practices using the supervision grid (Appendix 35).

    6.6.3 Surveillance of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI)

    AEFI surveillance applies to everyone vaccinated against measles during the campaign that experiences one or more symptoms, appearing within 30 days of vaccination, that might be related to it.


    AEFIs are detected by passive surveillance that begins the first day and ends 30 days after the campaign ends. Health care personnel are trained and definitions, tools and a reporting circuit are put in place.


    Minor AEFIs (fever and injection site reactions), which do not endanger the person and do not require hospitalisation, are distinguished from serious AEFIs (e.g., anaphylactic reaction or encephalitis), which lead to hospitalisation, disability or death.


    Health care personnel are trained to quickly detect and appropriately manage an anaphylactic reaction at the site. Each team is equipped with an ampoule of epinephrine (adrenaline), a 1 ml syringe and an intramuscular needle to administer the epinephrine (Appendix 43) before transferring the person to the hospital.


    AEFIs must be reported (Appendix 44 and Appendix 45). Serious AEFIs must be reported immediately for investigation and confirmation of the link to the vaccination.


    Find out from the national immunisation programme how AEFIs are classified in the country. The WHO recommends the following classification:

    • programme error: event caused by an error in vaccine preparation, handling, or administration;
    • vaccine reaction: event caused or precipitated by the vaccine when given correctly, caused by the inherent properties of the vaccine;
    • coincidental event: event that happens after immunisation but not caused by the vaccine;
    • unknown: the event's cause cannot be determined.

    6.6.4 Protection of personnel

    There are a number of AEB-related risks:

    • For vaccinators, the risk is high due to the large number of injections being administered at a sustained pace. To reduce the risks:
      • wear single-use gloves;
      • have the people accompanying the children help hold them.
    • For logistics teams, accidents are due to incorrect use of safety boxes (filling them beyond the line, failing to close them completely), to waste sorting errors (needles thrown into rubbish bags, for example) or to unprotected transport of waste (not separate from people).
      Wearing personal protective equipment is compulsory (this equipment is included in the vaccination kit):
      • for waste collection: thick gloves (work gloves, at a minimum), coveralls with long sleeves and legs, and boots;
      • for waste disposal: thick gloves, leather apron, safety glasses, coveralls with long sleeves and legs, boots and a mask.


    All personnel should already know what to do in case of accidental exposure to blood (AEB) when the campaign begins.


    A physician consultant is designated to:

    • evaluate the risk for people who are exposed, decide whether to treat, and provide follow-up (Appendix 46);
    • fill out and/or centralise the AEB report forms (Appendix 47);
    • ensure that AEB kits are always available.


    A bottle of 10% polyvidone iodine should be available at each vaccination site and waste storage/disposal area for topical treatment (Appendix 46).