Frequently Asked Questions
a. How much time is allotted to implement the WHO recommendations?
Websites are given an initial six week period in which to implement the WHO recommendations. The evaluation team will provide you with a specific due date. Once you have made the requisite changes to the website and notified the evaluation team, they will review the changes and send any additional feedback, clarifications and/or final recommendations. You will have an additional six weeks in which to complete these final changes to the website.
If you have limited human resources or face other obstacles that will result in significant delays, the evaluation team will work with you to establish a timeline better suited to your specific needs.
b. What are the benefits of joining the VSN?
Participation in the VSN may raise your website’s profile and enhance its credibility. Once you have successfully completed the evaluation process, your website will be added to the roster of VSN members worldwide that provide reliable information on vaccine safety. Some VSN members place a notice on their site indicating that they have been evaluated by WHO and found to meet the criteria for good information practices with regard to content, credibility, accessibility and design. Many VSN sites link to those of other members, thus driving more user traffic and increase browsers’ ranking.
c. May I use the WHO logo on our VSN approved website?
You are encouraged to provide a description of the VSN and link to the VSN website (https://www.who.int/teams/regulation-prequalification/regulation-and-safety/pharmacovigilance/networks/vaccine-safety-net/vsn-members); however, use of the WHO logo is not permitted as a matter of policy.
d. How long is the evaluation process?
The length of the evaluation/re-evaluation process varies greatly depending on a number of factors including response times on the part of both the website and the evaluation team; human resources available to implement WHO recommendations; and internal approvals required by some organizations before they can make specific changes to their site. The speediest evaluation was completed in less than two weeks, while some of the longest evaluations have taken well over one year.
Please see FAQ ‘a’ for specific guidelines regarding the length of time allotted to address WHO recommendations.
e. We received numerous recommendations from the evaluation team, is this a sign that our website is not a strong candidate for inclusion in the VSN?
WHO only evaluates websites that are viable candidates for the VSN. This means that the evaluation team is in agreement that your website is a valuable resource and already meets many of the GACVS criteria. The recommendations are intended to serve as guidance to help you meet the remaining criteria. Upon review you may find that some of the recommendations are based on minor oversights during the web development process and relatively easy to address, for example, adding a site map or including contact information for the web master. There is no correlation between the number of recommendations you receive and the quality of your site.