New technology could help make vaccines more effective by shortening the period required to collect meaningful data.
A team of scientists from the Medicines Monitoring Unit at the University of Dundee and the Drug Safety Research Unit in Southampton asked 3,754 people who received the swine flu vaccine and 312 people who declined the drug to use programmes on the internet to report any changes to their health.
"The use of web-based technology in the study was successful in reducing costs and allowing the collection of high quality data directly from patients," said Dr Isla Mackenzie, the lead researcher from the University of Dundee.
She explained that this real-time monitoring was effective in tracking the side effects of the virus and required no additional healthcare resources to be devoted to the project.
Dr Mackenzie believes the technology should be used in further studies.
The World Health Organization describes vaccines as a drug that increases immunity to a condition by making the body produce antibodies.