COVID-19 vaccination is not a cure-all or a complete substitute for safe behaviour. It should supplement other public health rules and guidelines.  

After you are vaccinated, COVID-safe measures remain in place. These include:

  • testing
  • contact tracing
  • quarantine
  • isolation.

To continue to protect others, you still need to:

COVID-19 vaccination – After your Pfizer (COMIRNATY) vaccine

A patient fact sheet about what to expect after being given the Comirnaty (Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd) COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination – After your AstraZeneca vaccine

A patient fact sheet about what to expect after being given the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination.

What if I have a reaction to the vaccine?

You may experience some side effects following vaccination. Most side effects last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.

Common reactions to vaccination include:

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

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.

  • For the Pfizer (COMIRNATY) vaccine, these symptoms are more common after the second dose.
  • For the AstraZeneca vaccine, these symptoms are more common after the first dose.

Serious reactions 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.

Use the COVID-19 vaccine side effects symptom checker if you have concerns about any symptoms after your vaccine. The checker is also available through the National Coronavirus Helpline, 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day.

The COVID-19 vaccine side effects symptom checker is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a medical professional for serious symptoms or emergencies.

For specific advice about side effects from different doses of vaccines, ask your doctor or health care professional.

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.
  • People should seek medical attention immediately if they experience any of the following symptoms: shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • swelling in your leg
  • persistent abdominal (belly) pain
  • neurological symptoms, including severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision
  • tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of injection.

Reporting symptoms

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.

Reporting suspected side effects is easy.

You can discuss any symptoms with your healthcare provider and they will report to the Therapeutic Goods Administration on your behalf. You can also report to your state or territory health department, or directly to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

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.

You can report to the TGA using their online form.

Can I cross state borders without restrictions if I am vaccinated?

Based on expert medical advice, mandatory quarantine with COVID-19 testing at frequent intervals is the best strategy for incoming international travellers.

Before you travel interstate, you should check your local state and territory website for directives, hotspot information and travel restrictions:

Will I be exempt from quarantining/self-isolation if I am vaccinated?

Australian Government advice for international travellers remains unchanged regardless of your vaccination status.

Passengers travelling to Australia must:

  • be tested for COVID-19, 72 hours or less, prior to the scheduled flight departure
  •  display evidence of a negative test result at the time of check-in.

People arriving in Australia may be quarantined for 14 days and might have to comply with other state and territory travel restrictions.

Will I be compensated if I have an adverse reaction to the vaccine?

While the Australian Government strongly supports immunisation, it is not compulsory. People, parents and carers maintain the right to choose whether to receive a vaccination.

The Government is not currently pursuing a no-fault COVID-19 vaccine injury compensation scheme. Serious side effects are extremely rare. If you think you may be having an adverse reaction, you should seek immediate medical care.

National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline

If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, call the telephone number listed below. If you need assistance with booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, please note the call centre is unable to book appointments on your behalf.

View contact

Last updated: 
9 April 2021

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