Published 3 December 2020

To succeed in the national vaccination campaign against Covid-19, let us not forget the electronic vaccination record

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To succeed in the national vaccination campaign against Covid-19, let us not forget the electronic vaccination record

Press Release of the French National Academy of Medicine

December 3, 2020

While the imminent hope of a vaccine response suggests that the pandemic could be brought under control during the year 2021, it should be remembered that the availability of effective vaccines is only the first step, the next one being the implementation of vaccination. There are many challenges ahead. Information and communication need to be mastered when conflicting messages and inaccurate claims made through the internet and social networks may reinforce an underlying vaccine hesitancy among the population [1]. Health professionals are called upon to implement complex and rapidly changing vaccine recommendations; they need timely, evidence-based information on the logistical and medico-economic aspects of the national program, vaccine schedules, and the safety and efficacy of the different vaccines. The priority is to speed up the preparation of the vaccination campaign of information and communication in all its dimensions: ethical, medical, logistical, organizational, financial, regulatory. In such a climate of urgency, the National Academy of Medicine, noting the absence of an operational vaccination register, regrets that France has not yet an electronic vaccination record (EVC) despite the fact that it was repeatedly recommended on several occasions by the health authorities [2-6]. The EVC could provide answers to the challenges of a national strategy aimed at immunizing a major part of the population.

The EVC is a device that helps citizens, health professionals and the health authority in charge of vaccination programs:

-To citizen, it offers an up-to-date source of information and private access to her or his vaccination history (names and dates of vaccines received, vaccination status for each target disease), as well as personalized vaccination recommendations according to her or his health profile, including sending the next booster dates; registration is free, without any obligation; everyone being able to  exercise direct control over their data and choose the health professionals authorized to access.

-To healthcare professionals (attending physician, dispensing pharmacist, nurse or midwife), it provides a training tool and a decision-making support, each recommendation being documented and verifiable.

-To health authority, the data consolidation associated with each EVC constitutes a vaccination register capable of generating reliable indicators in real time to pilot a vaccination program: monitoring of the vaccination procedures carried out, vaccination coverage stratified by geographical area, age, sex or state of health, indicators of compliance with good vaccination practices and incidence rate of post-vaccination adverse reactions. Indeed, the EVC incorporates a proactive vaccine vigilance tool by sending systematic requests (email or text message) to vaccinated persons at programmable intervals, enabling rapid detection of possible adverse reactions that follows an immediate response, an essential function for the monitoring of Covid-19 vaccines phase 4.

Given the need to deploy as soon as possible a national immunization program to control the Covid-19 epidemic and to reposition France in the European concert, the National Academy of Medicine recommends to consider a national extension of the EVC, currently used by the Regional Unions of Health Professionals (URPS) in 5 regions (Nouvelle Aquitaine, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Centre-Val-de-Loire and Occitanie) and by the Regional Health Agencies (ARS) in 3 regions (Nouvelle Aquitaine, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Occitanie) in order to exploit all their capacities for an efficient and balanced management of this major public health enterprise.

1. COCONEL Group. A future vaccination campaign against COVID-19 at risk of vaccine hesitancy and politicisation. Lancet Infect Dis, 2020; 20(7): 769-70.

2. Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights. Instruction DGOS/PF2/DGS/RI1/DGCS/2015/202 of June 15, 2015 relating to the national program of actions for the prevention of healthcare associated infections (Propias).

3. Steering Committee of the Citizen Consultation on Vaccination, November 2016. Report on vaccination.

4. CARE – COVID-19 Scientific Committee – COVID-19 Vaccine Committee. Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, a vaccination strategy, July 9, 2020.

5. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Designing and implementing an immunization information system, A handbook for those involved in the design, implementation or management of immunization information systems [Internet], 2018.

6. High Council of Public Health. Report of 25 May 2012 on the national program to improve immunization policy 2012-2017.