New surveillance system aims to improve safe use of medicines and vaccines in pregnancy

Medicare payment cut goes into effect

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology is launching a new system to gather information on safe use of medications and vaccines in pregnant women.

The Vaccines and Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System (VAMPSS) consists of a prospective surveillance arm and a case-control surveillance arm. The former, coordinated by the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), will prospectively enroll and follow pregnant women who are exposed to vaccines or medications, comparing their outcomes with those of pregnant women who have not been exposed. The latter, coordinated by the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, will enroll mothers of infants with congenital malformations and mothers of those without and compare prevalence of vaccines and certain medications. Both arms will collect information directly from mothers, who will be asked about all medicines taken, regardless of how they were obtained, and all vaccines received.

VAMPSS will first focus on asthma and influenza. Women are encouraged to enroll in the study so they and their infants can be followed through pregnancy and the post-partum period. Clinicians can help support VAMPSS by referring pregnant patients to OTIS at 877-311-8972. VAMPSS was developed in consultation with the FDA, was initially funded by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and the U.S. Office of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and uses an independent advisory committee composed of representatives of obstetric and pediatric medical specialty groups, the CDC, NIH and a consumer representative. More information is available online.