SRSP combines theory and practice into a 12-to-18-month full-time experience in Beijing that includes weekly immunization seminars; participating and teaching in conferences on infectious diseases, vaccines, epidemiology, evidence-based medicine, and pharmacovigilance; and participation in the Chinese Vaccinology Course (CNVAC), which is organized by the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (with a curriculum that includes a global overview of vaccines, immunization strategies for prevention and control of vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccine development and preclinical research, vaccine production processes and analytics, vaccine regulation, immunization policy making, challenges of immunization and vaccinology, and communications with the public and media).
Scholars complete one or more scientific or programmatic projects that align professional background, training needs, and goals of the scholar with the needs of the National Immunization Program. Scholars will be assigned to the appropriate branch of the immunization program for project mentorship and supervision. Currently, assignments are separated into three branches: 1) the Evidence-Based Decision-Making for Immunization Branch, which provides scientific support for the Technical Working Groups of the National Immunization Advisory Committee (NIAC) by conducting research on the methodology of evidence-based decision-making for immunization planning and providing methodological support for the formulation of technical guidelines for immunization; 2) the Vaccination and Immunization Services Branch, which conducts vaccination coverage surveillance, evaluation of vaccination service technologies, Immunization Information System development and use, programmatic policy and strategy development, technical guidelines and standards development, and school entry vaccination record check guidelines and evaluation; and 3) the Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) Surveillance Branch, which conducts pharmacovigilance on all aspects of vaccine safety through a rigorous safety monitoring program jointly managed by China CDC and the National Medical Products Administration, identification and analysis of potential vaccine safety signals, formulation of vaccine safety technical guidelines, and monitoring vaccine-related public opinion.
Du Wen from Guizhou Provincial CDC and Wu Jing from Jiangxi Provincial CDC are the first graduates of this new program. Du Wen matched with the AEFI Branch to work with Dr. Li Keli, the branch chief. Ms. Du worked on the following: 1) monitoring the safety of China’s new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines while they were under the Emergency Use Authorization in preparation for routine use; 2) evaluation of the National Regulatory Authority for vaccines to strengthen the capacity of AEFI surveillance and ensure that China meets or exceeds the World Health Organization’s quality criteria; 3) updating the national AEFI surveillance guidelines with the most recent scientific evidence on vaccine safety monitoring; and 4) upgrading AEFI surveillance modules in Immunization Information Systems. Wu Jing matched with the Vaccination and Immunization Services Branch to work with Branch Chief Yu Wenzhou and deputy Cao Lei. Ms. Wu worked on the following: 1) a national level vaccination catch-up campaign to ensure that children who missed vaccinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic could be fully vaccinated — a campaign that immunized 94.4% of children who had missed the nearly 90 million doses of vaccines in total in the mainland of China (1); 2) the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign that protected frontline workers, working-age adults, older adults, and adolescents from COVID-19, providing over 1.9 billion doses of vaccine by the time that Ms. Wu graduated from the scholars program; and 3) an evaluation of COVID-19 vaccination breakthrough cases to characterize their severity and implications for effective use of COVID-19 vaccines. Upon completing the program, the two scholars returned to their home programs to bring their experiences back to their home CDCs.