Only few health intervention programs have been as successful as vaccination programs with respect to preventing morbidity and mortality in developing countries. However, the success of a vaccination program is threatened by rumors and misunderstanding about the risks of vaccines. It is short-sighted to plan the introduction of vaccines into developing countries unless effective vaccine safety monitoring systems are in place. Such systems that track adverse events following immunization (AEFI) is currently lacking in most developing countries. Therefore, any rumor may affect the entire vaccination program. Public health authorities should implement the safety monitoring system of vaccines, and disseminate safety issues in a proactive mode.
Effective safety surveillance systems should allow for the conduct of both traditional and alternative epidemiologic studies through the use of prospective data sets. The vaccine safety data link implemented in Vietnam in mid-2002 indicates that it is feasible to establish a vaccine safety monitoring system for the communication of vaccine safety in developing countries. The data link provided the investigators an opportunity to evaluate AEFI related to measles vaccine. Implementing such vaccine safety monitoring system is useful in all developing countries. The system should be able to make objective and clear communication regarding safety issues of vaccines, and the data should be reported to the public on a regular basis for maintaining their confidence in vaccination programs.