An ACT Government Website

An adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) is an unwanted or unexpected event following immunisation that may be related to the vaccine itself, its handling or administration, or may occur by coincidence, regardless of the vaccine.

Severe side effects from vaccines are rare and common side effects are usually mild and short-lasting.

Although it is not possible to identify every individual who might have a mild or serious reaction to a vaccine, by being aware of contraindications and precautions to particular vaccines, you can minimise the risk of your patient having serious adverse effects from vaccination.

Go to the Australian Immunisation Handbook for more information.

Informing patients about common side effects

You can alert your clients to common side effects and how to treatment by giving them the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care handout following vaccination – what to expect and what to do.

Serious reactions

Surveillance provides ongoing monitoring to detect population specific, rare or late onset adverse events not detected in pre-licensure clinical trials.

In the ACT, adverse events following immunisation are notifiable under the ACT Public Health Act 1997: Public Health (Reporting of Notifiable Conditions) Code of Practice 2017 (No 1).

Reporting events

The Immunisation Unit reports all notifications to the Australian Adverse Drug Reaction System (ADRS) at the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Australia-wide annual reports on AEFI surveillance are published by the Australian Government.

Suspected adverse events

In the ACT, suspected adverse events should be reported to the ACT Health Immunisation Unit.

You can report using one of the following ways:

Vaccine administration error

A vaccine administration error (VAE) is also considered an AEFI and may be related to the way a vaccine was stored, prepared or administered.

To report a VAE fill out the vaccination medication error reporting form.

More information

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This page is managed by: ACT Health Directorate