Our mission is to provide an independent assessment of vaccine safety issues to assist decision making by policy makers, health care providers, and the public.

IVS Principles

The following are IVS’s principles. We acknowledge that inherent to having multiple principles is the potential for tension between them, and we strive to consider and balance all our principles in our actions and recommendations.

Scientific Excellence

We champion timely, rigorous, objective, and transparent science.

Meaningful Information

We commit to sharing what we know and don’t know in understandable ways.

Autonomy and Common Good

We honor the right of individuals to make their own decisions in ways that are consistent with their values and life experiences, recognize that individual choices may impact others, and encourage decisions that protect one another.

We support requirements for immunizations in some settings.

Public Health as Partner

We advocate for public health to build deeper, sustained relationships with those of and from communities so that public health solutions are developed collaboratively and jointly owned.

Background and Rationale

Vaccines have important and fundamental value, bringing enormous benefits to the health of individuals and populations as preventive interventions. With the explosion in technology in recent years there has been a boom in vaccine development. New vaccines and combination vaccines are being developed, and more manufacturers have entered the field. Vaccines are likely to play an increasingly important role in health care.

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. Daniel Salmon, Neal Halsey, Kawsar Talaat, Matthew Dudley, Anna Durbin, Peter Orton, and Janesse Brewer, Tina Proveaux, and Michelle Goryn 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, IVS faculty and staff, and sometimes external experts, contribute original content. All IVS web pages indicate the date of posting or latest update.

updated May 24, 2024