The VSRG’s mandate
The Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group (VSRG) supports the monitoring of the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.
Reporting to the President of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and in collaboration with the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN), the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), and the federal, provincial and territorial governments, the VSRG is independent of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) but is supported by its Secretariat.
- Funds teams that can address important aspects of the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines with public health relevance and with attention to all priority groups including Indigenous persons;
- Curates a list of priority issues and questions related to COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness;
- Inventories existing resources and networks that have the capacity and mandate to monitor vaccine safety and effectiveness, and supports them to increase the scope and scale of their activities to more comprehensively and quickly monitor the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines; and
- Identifies specific issues in vaccine surveillance, based on the inventory, and helps to develop and support additional surveillance initiatives to address these gaps in coordination with the provinces and territories.
The VSRG will review proposals for vaccine safety and effectiveness studies in association with its two Working Groups. Once proposals pass initial selection, they are sent out for external review, before returning to the VSRG which makes a recommendation to the CITF’s Executive Committee (EC). The CITF’s EC will function as an arm’s-length audit/finance committee to ensure that due diligence has been done when the VSRG draws on public funds, as they come from the CITF’s budget. The CITF EC will then recommend studies for approval by PHAC for financing.