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Side effects - COVID-19 vaccine

You may experience some side effects after getting your vaccination. Most side effects last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems. However, some side effects may need medical attention.

Minor side effects

Some people will experience more significant flu-like symptoms from the vaccine compared to other common vaccinations, and may need time away from normal activities.

Fever or chills Mild fever and chills
Pain at injection site Pain, redness and/or swelling where you received the needle
Headache Headache
Joint pain Joint pain
Muscle pain Muscle pain
Feeling tired Tiredness
Feeling unwell Feeling unwell
Nausea Nausea

For the Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, these symptoms are more common after the second dose.

For the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine, these symptoms are more common after the first dose.

You can treat these side effects by taking paracetamol or ibuprofen if you need it, resting and drinking plenty of water.

Check your symptoms

If you have had a COVID-19 vaccination and think you may be experiencing side effects, you can check your symptoms online for advice.

The checker is also available through the National Coronavirus Helpline, 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day. This isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, so if you’re feeling unwell or you are concerned, consult a medical professional.

Check side effects

In the hours and days after having your vaccination, it is possible to experience another health condition and even catch COVID-19. If you’re concerned about your symptoms or they don’t go away in a couple of days, you should contact a GP for advice.

Serious reactions

Allergic reactions

Serious reactions to vaccines such as allergic reactions are extremely rare. They usually occur within 15 minutes of receiving a vaccine. After you receive your vaccine, you should wait this amount of time before you leave to ensure your safety in case a reaction occurs. The vaccine provider will have equipment and medication on hand if you need treatment for an allergic reaction.

TTS, myocarditis and pericarditis

There is a very rare and serious risk of a condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS) with AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine and myocarditis or pericarditis from Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccines. These conditions require immediate medical attention.

See your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital if:

  • you have a reaction that you consider severe or unexpected
  • you are concerned about your condition after vaccination.

Signs of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) severe or persistent headaches, blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, persistent abdominal pain, leg swelling, tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of injectionSeek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • neurological symptoms, including severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • persistent abdominal (belly) pain
  • swelling in your leg
  • tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of injection.

For specific advice about side effects from different doses of vaccines, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or ask your doctor or health care professional.

TTS (rare blood clotting side effect) explained

Hear Dr Krispin Hajkowicz, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital's Director of Infectious Diseases, answer your questions about the extremely rare blood clots caused by the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine. Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) is an extremely rare and new type of blood clot where patients present with both a blood clot (thrombosis) and low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). TTS is serious, rare and treatable when detected early.

Duration 0:2:03 |

Reporting symptoms and side effects

If you or your health care provider think a COVID-19 vaccine has caused a side effect, we encourage you to report it. Reporting suspected side effects helps us to maintain and improve the safety of vaccines. Every report is valuable and adds to safety monitoring.

An Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) as described by the online Australian Immunisation Handbook is any negative reaction that follows vaccination. It does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the vaccine.

Get advice about vaccine symptoms and report through the NPS MedicineWise Adverse Medicine Events (AME) Line on 1300 134 237, 7 days a week 8am–8pm AEST/AEDT.

How to report side effects

Discuss any symptoms experienced after a COVID-19 vaccination with your healthcare provider and they can report to Queensland Health on your behalf. This information will also be reported to the TGA.

Someone from the Public Health Unit in your area may contact you or your healthcare provider if they require more information for reporting and surveillance purposes. If you have any concerns about ongoing symptoms or future vaccinations, please speak to your GP or Healthcare provider.

Information for Primary Care Providers

Adverse Events of Special Interest (AESI), as well as serious, unexpected or uncommon Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI), need to be reported to the COVID-19 Vaccination Program as they are notifiable conditions under the Public Health Regulation 2018 (Schedule 1).

What to expect after your vaccination

Download a patient fact sheet about what to expect after: