Strengthening post vaccination distress management in southwestern Uganda

In Uganda, healthcare workers often face challenges in effectively managing post-vaccination distress due to a combination of factors. Limited resources, including shortages of medical supplies, trained medical personnel and inadequate training in identifying and managing post-vaccination distress hinders their ability to provide comprehensive services, leading to suboptimal care for the affected patients. Addressing these issues is crucial for ensuring the safety and efficacy of vaccination programs and promoting public health initiatives effectively in Uganda and Africa.
post vaccination distress management jpeg

Unit specialists in the phase one study to determine the safety and immunogenicity of the candidate Rift Valley Fever virus vaccine ChAdOx1 RVF among healthy adult volunteers in Uganda (RVF002) conducted two training sessions. These sessions equipped 27 health workers from six health facilities in Southwestern Uganda with skills in administering vaccines and enhanced their capacity to manage cases of post-vaccination side effects in patients. The study aimed to assess the safety and tolerability of the ChAdOx1 RVF vaccine in a healthy adult population.

Attending health workers, including medical doctors, clinicians, nurses and village health team representatives, benefited from comprehensive sessions addressing key challenges in patient management at health facilities. These sessions, such as administration of vaccines, expounded on the appropriate vaccination sites tailored to different age demographics to mitigate common administration errors. Training on the utilization of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) guidelines and the Immunization Stress Related Responses (ISRR) form covered the identification and categorization of both common and rare side effects post-immunization and elaborated on immediate and long-term management strategies for adverse reactions which enhanced the skills of health workers in systematically recording, reporting and managing side effects.

Dr. Ggayi Abubaker, Scientist B from the Unit’s Viral Pathogens Research Theme and RVF002 Study Coordinator, noted that the training boosted the confidence and competence of the health workers in fulfilling their responsibilities “It is our hope that they will use these skills and knowledge to contribute to safer and more effective immunization programs, which will eventually increase greater public trust in vaccinations and public health initiatives."

With improved knowledge and skills from the training sessions, the health workers, committed to conduct more comprehensive prevention measures including detailed assesment of patients to determine who is at risk of reacting negatively to a specific vaccine.

Irene K, a 50 -year-old senior nursing officer at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, said, “The training enabled me to critically assess patients especially the elderly for post vaccination distress. Before the interventional trainings, most of our patients would keep coming back to the facility complaining of different upsets and reactions. With the use of the ISSR form, it is easy to compare the health background and personal details of a patient against the vaccine guidelines before administration.The side effect cases have greatly reduced. We only see mild cases.”

Dr. Muwanguzi Sam has worked as an Incharge at Kitovu Hospital in Masaka for 8 years. He eagerly encouranged two of his nursing officers to attend the trainings in order to address the dwindling numbers of people who were turning up for vaccination. He explained, “Our patients had started shying away from turning up and bringing their children for vaccination because of the strange reactions that some individuals would get. Since the training of our staff on the use of AEFI and ISRR assesment forms, we have noted an increase in the vaccine uptake and less reactions.”

About the study:

The RVF002 study trial, a vaccine assessed the safety and immune response of the ChAdOx1 Rift Valley Fever vaccine in healthy adult volunteers in Southwestern Uganda. Rift Valley Fever (RVF). The study higlighted the vaccines potetial to sustain immunity against Rift Valley Fever for more than 3 months in an individuals body, offering hope for future vaccination strategies to prevent the spread of the disease among humans.The study is part of the Unit’s Vaccine research theme.

About the Vaccine Research Theme:

Through key epidemiology and clinical trials, our team of vaccine researchers are working at all stages of the vaccine development pipeline to contribute to the development and implementation of relevant vaccines, and context-specific techniques and measures for harnessing vaccine response and efficacy.

Learn more about Unit science

Short Courses

LSHTM's short courses provide opportunities to study specialised topics across a broad range of public and global health fields. From AMR to vaccines, travel medicine to clinical trials, and modelling to malaria, refresh your skills and join one of our short courses today.