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Epidemiological evaluation of vaccines: efficacy, safety and policy

Please complete the online application form at the bottom of this web-page

Dates for the next intake: 4 - 15 July 2016

Course Outline

The Epidemiology of a Vaccine

Epidemiological research has become an important tool in assessing vaccine protection. Although there are several courses specialising in vaccinology, there remains a gap in teaching about advanced epidemiological tools for vaccine evaluation. This course fills that gap, providing an in-depth training on current methods used in the evaluation of vaccine efficiency, safety and policy. It aims to address immunisation issues in high, middle and low income countries.

Aims and Objectives

The overall aim of this short course is to provide an understanding of the methods used in the evaluation of vaccines and immunization; from early human trials through to assessment of population impact and policy. Specifically the course will:

  • Bring the participants up to date with the current methods for epidemiological evaluation of vaccines in terms of efficacy and safety, and collection of evidence necessary for policy formulation and evaluation.
  • Provide an understanding of the application of epidemiology to the pre- and post-licensure evaluation of vaccines
  • Address the epidemiological issues for vaccine evaluation in high, middle and low income countries.
  • Equip participants to critically analyse how vaccines are evaluated for safety and efficacy, and how to collect the evidence necessary for vaccine policy setting, programme implementation and impact measurement.

Who Should Apply?

The course is relevant to public health professionals and field researchers with a strong interest in vaccine efficacy, safety and policy impact. The course is intensive and a good command of the English language is essential. A knowledge of computers and a basic knowledge of Word for Windows and Excel is also essential. 

Participants will be expected to have completed a basic post-graduate epidemiology module or equivalent. They should have an understanding of epidemiological measures of disease frequency (incidence, prevalence), measures of effect (odds ratios, risk ratios), the merits of different study designs (cross-sectional, cohort, case-control, intervention studies) and key concepts and implications of sampling error, bias and confounding.

Teaching Methods and Course Materials 

All teaching is carried out at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London and consists of a combination of formal lectures and more informal seminars and group practicals. A comprehensive manual will be provided to accompany the presentations.

Course Content

The topics to be covered will include:

  • Epidemiological principles of vaccine evaluation
  • Immunological basis for vaccination
  • Pre-licensure epidemiological issues:
    • Phase I, II and III trials
    • Practical and ethical considerations
    • Clinical trials: sample size and analysis issues
    • Good clinical practice and adverse event monitoring during vaccine trials
  • Post-licensure epidemiological issues:
    • Vaccine efficacy and effectiveness
    • Impact studies
    • Burden of disease assessment
    • Surveillance of disease and infection
    • Adverse events monitoring
  • Using immunology in vaccine evaluation
  • Infectious disease modelling in assessing vaccine impact
  • Economic evaluation of vaccination programmes
  • Key issues in vaccination schedules and policy
  • Long term implications of vaccination programmes
  • Topical issues in the epidemiology of vaccine preventable disease

Student Testimonials

“This course covered an impressive breadth of material while ensuring objectives for each learning domain were manageable. The entire course was very well organized and the instructors were both accessible to students and passionate about their work. As a research associate with a public health background, I was particularly inspired by course modules that covered topics outside my professional purview (e.g. immunology, methods in correlates of protection). The two-week intensive course has expanded my academic interests and I will use this learning to shape next steps in my career”
Rika Moorhouse, Ottawa, 2014

“The course was a fantastic opportunity to experience the full breadth of research in vaccines through contact with leading scientists and peers working in the area. In addition, having participants from all over the globe gave the course a unique mix of experiences and perspectives that enriched learning and skill acquisition. The skills I gained from the course were of immediate practical use in my work on the impact of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in Kenya. Insights I gained during the course are guiding me towards developing a research question in the field of measles epidemiology and measles vaccine policy. Attending the course also helped me develop important contacts in the field of vaccine epidemiology.”
Kenneth Munge, Nairobi, 2013

“This course was really comprehensive for both regulatory bodies and industry as well. It helped me to understand the methods of conducting vaccine studies which are different
than regular medicinal products. Also, the materials are very useful to evaluate all studies that relate to vaccines and I still use them, especially during my routine work.”
Thamir M Alshammari, Riyadh, 2012

Course Certificate and Assessment

There will be no formal assessment but a Certificate of Attendance will be awarded to those completing the course.

Course Fee

The course fee for 2016 is £2,775.00.  

Participants employed by an institution from a LMIC (World Bank definition) are offered a 50% reduction on the course fee. This offer is applicable to a maximum of 10 participants on a first come first serve basis based on receipt of payment.  World Bank Definition of LMIC

Fees will and cover participation in the course, training materials, and incidental tea/coffee and reception, but does not cover travel costs, accommodation and meals. If the course fee is to be paid on the applicant's behalf, please send a letter from the sponsor to confirm this as soon as possible. Otherwise, the applicant will be held personally responsible for payment.

Accommodation and Meals

The School cannot provide accommodation for participants. A list of hotels and other accommodation located in the vicinity of the School can be provided on request to Registry.
Lunch can be purchased from the School refectory. Evening meals are not catered for at the School, but there is a large choice of restaurants and coffee shops nearby.

How to apply


The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is committed to improving global health through its programme of short and full-time postgraduate study.

Please note:

  • If you have been offered a place on the course you will not be able to register without bringing formal ID (Passsport) and without having obtained the correct visa.
  • It is essential that you read the current visa requirements for short course students. To view this information please click here.
  • The School may cancel courses two weeks before the first day of the course if numbers prove insufficient.  In those circumstances, course fees will be refunded.
  • The School cannot accept responsibility for accommodation, travel and other losses incurred as a result of the course being cancelled.
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