Vaccine Safety Basics

This course introduces participants to the foundations of vaccine pharmacovigilance. The aim of this course is to provide healthcare professionals whose work involve vaccine safety issues, with essential knowledge about vaccines and their safety aspects. These professionals can include nurses, midwives, community health workers, as well as pharmacists, medical doctors and immunization programme or vaccine safety communication officers.

Language: English
Health topic

Course information

This course is also available in the following languages:

Français - Español - Русский - Українська


Vaccination is one of the great public health achievements of human history. Vaccines used in national immunization programmes (NIPs) are considered safe and effective when used correctly.

Vaccines are, however, not risk-free and adverse events will occasionally occur following vaccination. Public trust in vaccine safety is key to the success of vaccination programmes.

Healthcare professionals involved in vaccine safety come from different backgrounds. As their jobs are all interrelated and co-dependent, they need a ‘common language’ in order to ensure smooth collaboration.

About the course

This Vaccine Safety Basics course is suitable for different learning needs and country contexts.

It introduces participants to the foundations of vaccine pharmacovigilance, including:

  • An introduction to vaccine safety;
  • Types of vaccines and adverse reactions;
  • Adverse reactions following immunization (AEFI);
  • Vaccine safety surveillance;
  • Institutions and mechanisms involved;
  • Practical advice on how communicate about vaccine safety.

Course structure

The course is structured into six modules, three case studies and a final assessment. Each module contains quizzes and questions testing your knowledge at the end of the course.

A general assessment testing your understanding at the end of the whole course.

Course duration

Approximately 5 hours.


A Record of Achievement certificate will be available to participants who score at least 80% in the final assessment.

Participants who receive a Record of Achievement can also download an Open Badge for this course. Click here to learn how.

What you'll learn

  • Explain the importance of vaccination in the control of infectious diseases;
  • Describe the basic principles of vaccination;
  • Define the main types of adverse events following immunization (AEFIs);
  • Describe the basic principles of pharmacovigilance and the special considerations that apply to vaccination programmes;
  • Outline the main functions or services for vaccine safety;
  • Recognize the need for improved communication on vaccine safety;
  • Design simple, clear and tailored messages to communicate information about vaccine safety to your target audience.

Enroll me for this course

The course is free. Just register for an account on OpenWHO and take the course!
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Learners enrolled: 18260

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 80% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain an Open Badge by completing the course.