New Zealand takes first steps to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines

Work is under way at the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care within the University of Auckland to gather baseline data on medical events that have potential to be associated with COVID-19 vaccines. Defining these potential adverse events of special interest (AESI) and calculating the rate at which they have occurred in New Zealand in the past are prerequisites for monitoring the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. If these adverse events occur after a vaccine is introduced to the population, New Zealand will have a frame of reference with which to compare the rates of these events to assess if there is a safety concern or not. The Brighton Collaboration has already defined 22 AESI and Associate Professor Helen Petousis-Harris and her team are currently gathering data to calculate the background rates of these events, with funding provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Health.