Safety Monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccines: Perspective from the European Medicines Agency

Julie Durand, Jean Michel Dogné, Catherine Cohet, Kate Browne, María Gordillo-Marañón, Loris Piccolo, Cosimo Zaccaria, Georgy Genov

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Prior to deployment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines in the European Union in 2021, a high vaccine uptake leading to an unprecedented volume of safety data from spontaneous reports and real-world evidence, was anticipated. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) implemented specific activities to ensure enhanced monitoring of emerging vaccine safety information, including intensive monitoring of reports of adverse events of special interest and the use of observed-to-expected analyses. The EMA also commissioned several independent observational studies using a large network of electronic healthcare databases and primary data collection via mobile and web-based applications. This preparedness was key for two high-profile safety signals: thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a new clinical entity associated with adenovirus-vectored vaccines, and myocarditis/pericarditis with messenger RNA vaccines. With no existing case definition nor background rates, the signal of TTS posed particular challenges. Nevertheless, it was rapidly identified, evaluated, contextualized and the risk minimized thanks to close surveillance and an efficient use of available evidence, clinical expertise and flexible regulatory tools. The two signals illustrated the complementarity between spontaneous and real-world data, the former enabling rapid risk identification and communication, the latter enabling further characterization. The COVID-19 pandemic has tremendously enhanced the development of tools and methods to harness the unprecedented volume of safety data generated for the vaccines. Areas for further improvement include the need for better and harmonized data collection across Member States (e.g., stratified vaccine exposure) to support signal evaluation in all population groups, risk contextualization, and safety communication.

langue originaleAnglais
Numéro d'article10.1002/cpt.2828
Pages (de - à)1223-1234
Nombre de pages12
journalClinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Numéro de publication6
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - juin 2023

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