Special Immunization Clinic (SIC) Network

The Special Immunization Clinic (SIC) Network was established in 2013 by infectious disease specialists and allergists to improve immunization practices for patients who had experienced adverse events following immunization and those who have medical conditions that may affect their response to immunizations. SIC physicians conduct standard patient assessments, and evaluate vaccine safety in patients with previous adverse events.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SIC network was awarded funding to expand its clinics to more sites and provinces in order to evaluate patients with adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination across Canada. SIC investigators are also collaborating with networks on studies to evaluate COVID-19 vaccines in patients with various immunocompromising conditions.

If you are a physician who would like to refer a patient to the SIC with an adverse event following COVID-19 vaccination or another vaccine, click here for more information.

In addition to clinical care, The SIC Network also conducts four multi-center research studies:

  1. Optimizing the clinical management of patients with contraindication to vaccination and those with adverse events following immunization (AEFI) is looking to find the causality of AEFIs and the risk of recurrence upon revaccination for any vaccination, including COVID-19. Enrollment is ongoing through the clinic.
  2. Optimizing varicella immunization in children and youth with solid organ transplants (SOT) is studying how well varicella vaccines work and how safe they are in pediatric solid organ transplant recipients. The study is also assessing barriers and acceptability of implementing live varicella vaccination for SOT recipients among health care providers and parents of SOT recipients. Enrollment is expected to complete Dec 2021.
  3. Safety of rotavirus vaccination in infants born to women on biologic immunomodulators during pregnancy is evaluating immunologic markers of infants with in utero exposure to biologics and following them up after vaccination in order to determine the safety of giving rotavirus vaccination. A manuscript of our preliminary results is in preparation.
  4. Immunization practices in children with primary immune deficiencies (PID) aims to describe vaccination practices of immunologists, pediatricians and infectious disease specialists caring for children with PID through a survey and a review of medical charts of children diagnosed with PID before age seven. Results from this study were published here.

The SIC has many sites across Canada and continues to grow. Below is a list of current SIC sites and collaborators.

Network Lead:

Co-Investigators:

  • Scott Halperin, IWK Health
  • Anthony Otley, IWK Health
  • James Tee, IWK Health
  • Shelly McNeil, Nova Scotia Health
  • Gina Lacuesta, Nova Scotia Health
  • Shelley Deeks, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness
  • Andrew O’Keefe, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Gaston de Serres, Institut national de santé publique du Québec
  • Jean Philippe Drolet, CHU Laval
  • Francois Boucher, CHU Laval
  • Alex Carignan, CHU Sherbrooke
  • Hugo Chapdelaine, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal
  • Emilia Liana Falcone, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal
  • Francisco Noya, McGill University Health Centre
  • Soren Gantt, CHU Sainte-Justine
  • Caroline Quach, CHU Sainte-Justine
  • Bruce Tapiéro, CHU Sainte-Justine
  • Anne Des Roches, CHU Sainte-Justine
  • Chantal Buteau, CHU Sainte-Justine
  • Anne Pham-Huy, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
  • Arianne Buchan, The Ottawa Hospital
  • Juthaporn Cowan, The Ottawa Hospital
  • Shaun Morris, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Julia Upton, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Vicky Ng, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Chia Wei Toeh, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Upton Allen, Hospital for Sick Children
  • Stephen Betschel, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Christine Song, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Jeffrey Pernica, McMaster Children’s Hospital
  • Zainab AbdurrahmanMcMaster’s Children’s Hospital
  • Sarah Wilson, Public Health Ontario
  • Colin Barber, Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg
  • Karver Zaborniak, Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg
  • Chrystyna Kalicinsky, Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg
  • Tamar Rubin, Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg
  • Lana Rosenfeld, Health Science Centre Winnipeg
  • Alberto Severini, National Microbiology Laboratory
  • Athena McConnell, University of Saskatchewan
  • Catherine Burton, Stollery Children’s Hospital
  • Sneha Suresh, Stollery Children’s Hospital
  • Wendy Vaudry,Stollery Children’s Hospital
  • Susan Gilmour, Stollery Children’s Hospital
  • Grazia Salvo, Alberta Health Services
  • Cora Constantinescu, Alberta Children’s Hospital
  • Manish Sadarangani, BC Children’s Hospital
  • Julie Bettinger, BC Children’s Hospital
  • Tom Blydt-Hansen, BC Children’s Hospital
  • Kyla Hildebrand, BC Children’s Hospital

Knowledge Translation and Training

CIRN maintains a core curriculum that will enhance interdisciplinary interaction and prepare students for real life career challenges while allowing trainees the time needed to develop specialized research skills. In addition, the group works to ensure that Knowledge Translation (KT), defined by CIHR as “a dynamic and iterative process that includes the synthesis, dissemination, exchange, and ethically sound application of knowledge”, is facilitated across the network into everyday practice.

The CIRN core curriculum will be conducted in an interdisciplinary problem-based learning (PBL) environment, with an emphasis on acquiring familiarity with issues that are often overlooked in specialized research programs. The curriculum will:

  • Enhance collaborative team research: The core curriculum will educate trainees in the practice of team research (as compared to individually-led research) and foster interdisciplinary interactions among trainees, mentors, and institutional leaders; and
  • Develop Core competencies in immunization, ethics, research integrity, research management, commercialization, technology transfer, communication, and knowledge translation into practice and health policy.

CIRN Trainee Seminar Series

The CIRN Training and Education Committee (TEC) hosts a monthly Seminar Series for trainees involved with CIRN featuring expert presenters on a variety of topics related to immunization. The seminars take place the third Thursday of each month, and are open for all trainees involved with CIRN, regardless of whether they receive funding through CIRN.

Next Seminar:

Presenter: Dr. David Fisman

Topic: Vaccine Modeling and Economic Analysis

When: March 25, 2021

Time: 1:30 p.m. AST

How to Join: email Natasha.squires@iwk.nshealth.ca to be added to the mailing list