Central system needed to register who gets what Covid vaccine: Pharmacists
The Netherlands must quickly develop a system that records who received which coronavirus vaccine. Such a system is essential for the safety of vaccines, especially the Covid-19 vaccines that are being introduced quickly and en masse, hospital pharmacists and the Lareb Side Effects Center said to NRC.
"If something goes wrong, it must be known exactly which vaccine someone received, both brand and delivery. You need that to recall a product," Tjalling van der Schorst, hospital pharmacist and member of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, said to the newspaper.
Due to the pace of implementation, the World Health Organization agreed that there does not have to be a scannable code on every vaccine bottle, instead the code will be on every batch of 975 bottles. "It is therefore not easy to trace from which batch each vaccinated person received his vaccine," Van der Schorst said. Which makes it even more essential that the Netherlands registers this properly.
Van der Schors stressed that he has every confidence in the Covid-19 vaccines. But every medicine can cause side effects. And factory errors can happen. You therefore have to be able to quickly see who got what vaccine, and where the remainder are. It is also essential that patients receive the same vaccination in both doses. "So you shouldn't get Pfizer the first time and then Moderna or another brand."
He thinks the Netherlands should follow the United Kingdom's example and register the vaccines in the patient's existing medication file. "Everything about that person is already there, provided that he has given permission for it."
Agnes Kant, director of the Lareb Side Effects Center, also stressed the importance of national registration to the newspaper, adding that she raised this with the Ministry of Public Health as far back as the summer. "When we get a report of an adverse reaction, we need to know which vaccine and which serial number was given. Something can go wrong in a factory. Or a certain brand can have specific side effects. We want to be able to get that out analytically, which is necessary for good security monitoring."
Kant added that all vaccines are monitored in this way. But the Covid-19 vaccine registration system needs to be in good working order. "Corona involves many more reports simultaneously and faster than normal." She expects that, if the hoped for 70 percent of the Dutch population is vaccinated against Covid-19, the side effect center will get about 30 thousand reports, likely mostly of common side effects like fever, pain and itching after an injection.
In a letter to parliament on Wednesday, Public Health Minister Hugo de Jonge wrote that they are "working hard" on a central register and that public health institute RIVM is in talks with the parties who are going to administer the vaccines about "connecting the registration systems". There are, however, privacy aspects that pose some "legal snags" to setting up a central system, the Minister said.