BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE
Technological advances have also opened the field to investigations regarding the safety of existing vaccines and have sometimes created a climate of concern and criticism. The information 'super highway' has flooded the public with information about vaccines and spurred the debate about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Information ranges from scientific articles written for an audience of highly trained investigators to opinions and false rumors.
Several government organizations generate data and provide information and recommendations regarding vaccines, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Vaccine Compensation Program, the National Immunization Program, and the National Institutes of Health. However, when new information becomes available to the public regarding a vaccine safety issue, government officials are often restricted in what they can say or release and therefore are unable to provide timely opinions due to restrictions placed on them, legal concerns, or because of concern about misinterpretation of their comments.
Journalists and the public want rapid access to objective information and expertise regarding issues of vaccine safety. Vaccine manufacturers and government agencies are, by necessity, concerned about vaccine safety. As an independent academic institution, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is uniquely positioned to fill a vacuum in the current debate on vaccine safety. The Institute for Vaccine Safety will provide access to objective and accurate information in a timely fashion in a variety of ways.
Drs. Neal Halsey, Lawrence Moulton and Dan Salmon, and Tina Proveaux review news, publications, recommendations and other sources for relevant content to add to the IVS website. Information on our site is maintained daily and reviewed weekly; a more in-depth review and evaluation is conducted at least quarterly by IVS faculty and staff. In addition to links and comments provided by faculty and staff, Drs. Halsey, Moulton and Salmon and sometimes external experts contribute original content. All IVS web pages indicate the date of posting or latest update.
The Institute also provides a public forum for presentation and discussion of vaccine safety information through seminars and workshops at Johns Hopkins University.
Investigations: The Institute conducts investigations into vaccine safety issues by generating additional data and combining information from published and unpublished investigations. These studies may consist of new clinical trials, investigations into safety issues from large data sets including public and private health service providers, the vaccine adverse events reporting system, the vaccine injury compensation program, National Institutes of Health-funded studies, and other sources. When necessary, the Institute will conduct freedom-of-information investigations.
IVS-Funded Studies: The Institute seeks funding to provide small grants to organizations for specific investigations. A sub-committee of the Scientific Advisory Board will award grants on a competitive basis following a formal review of proposals.
Executive Committee: The executive committee is made up of the IVS director and co-director and coordinators of the key areas of Institute activity. Coordinators serve for two-year, renewable terms at the discretion of the director. The Executive Committee includes: Richard Johnson, MD, former Chair, Department of Neurology (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine), Dianne Griffin, Chair, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Immunology (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), Donald Burke, MD, Director, Center for Immunization Research (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), Lawrence Moulton, PhD, and Neal Halsey, MD.
Participating Faculty: More than 15 JHU faculty with expertise in vaccine development and evaluation, immunology, clinical trials, ethics, risk assessment and behavioral sciences participate in the work of the Institute.
The Institute for Vaccine Safety received start up financial support from vaccine manufacturers in 1997 and 1998. In 2001, IVS sponsored a workshop on bifurcated needles for smallpox administration with Becton Dickinson. IVS has not received support from manufacturers or any other corporate sponsor since then.
Current IVS activities are supported through general Johns Hopkins funds and donated time as a public service.
This page was last updated on February 12, 2014
© 2014 Institute for Vaccine Safety