CDC to launch cell phone-based after-vaccine tracker for COVID-19

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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there are about seven or eight top vaccine candidates.

The COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available, but once it arrives in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to follow up on the health of those who receive it with a new program called V-SAFE.

According to a September CDC presentation, V-SAFE, or vaccine safety assessment for essential workers, is “a smartphone-based text-to-web survey, and email-to-web survey active surveillance program for early vaccine recipients.”

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The program uses phone numbers from those who went through the registration process for the COVID-19 vaccination. Those workers amounted to more than 20 million in the initial months of a vaccination program. V-SAFE will perform health checks on vaccine recipients through text messages and email for two periods after vaccination. In the first week after vaccination, check-ins will occur daily. After that time, weekly check-ins will occur for six weeks following vaccination.

Should adverse effects be reported by a recipient, the system will offer a telephone follow-up. CNN reported the system will aid with sending a report to Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System or VAERS, which is co-managed by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration.

Still, the news outlet noted questions exist about the exact use of the V-SAFE program once a vaccine is on the market.

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According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, who is not involved in the V-SAFE launch, this would be one of the methods to assist with immediately monitoring vaccine recipients.

“I don’t think there’s anything quite like this but I think there’s been clearly a trend towards this type of program,” Adalja told CNN. "This isn’t the exclusive way that they are going to get information. It’s an additive way.”

Among the other real-time vaccination monitoring methods on the CDC’s website are two “expanded safety monitoring systems," CNN reported. One is the Atlanta-based agency’s National Healthcare Safety Network, which gives facilities, states and the country data to point out problem areas, track prevention effort progress and has the goal of eliminating infections associated with healthcare. The other is what CNN reported are “larger insurer and payer claims-based databases through the FDA.”

For more information on the CDC’s vaccine safe monitoring, visit the website.