COVID-19 vaccine safety and side effects

All available vaccines undergo rigorous testing by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) (external site) to ensure they are safe before being made available to people in Western Australia. The Australian Government is responsible for selecting and purchasing vaccines.

Further information on COVID-19 vaccines including their safety is available on:

COVID-19 vaccine side effects

The COVID-19 vaccine side effect checker can be used if you have had a COVID-19 vaccination and think you may be experiencing side effects.

All vaccines can cause side effects, usually mild. You may experience minor side effects following COVID-19 vaccination. Most side effects last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.

Just over half the people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine to date in Western Australia report experiencing some symptoms three days after vaccination. The most common side effects after COVID-19 vaccination are usually mild and include:

  • pain, redness and/or swelling where you received the needle
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • muscle and/or joint ache
  • mild fever.

When they occur, these symptoms typically start within 24 hours of vaccination, last one to two days, and resolve without treatment.

These types of reactions are often a sign that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and helping to teach your body how to fight off COVID-19 if you are later exposed to the virus.

For details on the possible side effects of each vaccine, see:

When to seek help

Serious reactions like allergic reactions are extremely rare. If you have a reaction that is unexpected, or if you are unsure, consult with your GP.

If you believe your reaction is severe or life-threatening you should call triple zero (000) for an ambulance or go to your closest emergency department.

Contact your doctor or health care professional or go directly to a hospital if you have:

  • a reaction that you consider severe or unexpected
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • swelling in your leg
  • persistent abdominal (belly) pain
  • severe and persistent headaches, blurred vision, or other neurological symptoms
  • tiny blood spots under the skin that are not at the site of injection.

Reporting COVID-19 vaccine side effects

Any reactions causing you concern, whether minor or serious, should be reported to the Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS) system (external site).

Your immunisation provider, GP or other health professional should report all suspected significant reactions, but you can also do it yourself on the WAVSS reporting website (external site).

Additionally, you may receive a follow-up SMS or email survey (if consented at the time of vaccination) to ask if you have experienced any potential side effects from your COVID-19 vaccination. You are encouraged to reply to the survey and contribute to vaccine safety monitoring in Australia.

Last reviewed: 11-03-2022

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.