The Trump administration shut a vaccine safety office last year. What's the plan now?

Tracking outcomes in COVID-19 vaccine recipients to ensure the product is not causing harms after coming to market is an enormous undertaking, one that could be challenged further considering changes last year to the National Vaccine Program Office.

Tracking outcomes in COVID-19 vaccine recipients to ensure the product is not causing harms after coming to market is an enormous undertaking, one that could be challenged further considering changes last year to the National Vaccine Program Office. After its purported closure, experts complain the task now falls to a patchwork of federal agencies—including FDA and CDC—with no central leadership behind the effort. A spokesperson with HHS, however, denies that the vaccine office was shuttered. "The office was not 'closed,' but was merged with the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy and was strengthened," the spokesperson noted in a statement. "All the functions continue in this new organizational structure." Technicalities aside, critics remain concerned about a lack of coordinated direction that would normally have come from the vaccine office, as well as the absence of a plan to communicate findings to the public. FDA responds that it will post updates via its website, while CDC will hold public meetings. The agencies will retrieve data from various monitoring systems, including smartphone apps, a database of electronic health records and insurance claims, and CMS data on people aged 65 years and older.