Vaccine safety in Australia: AusVaxSafety summary report 2018

Public health Child health Immunisation Australia

AusVaxSafety is a national system for monitoring vaccine safety in Australia. The report shows how people receiving vaccines, or their parents and carers, responded to the SMS about their health a few days after their vaccination at each schedule point in the National Immunisation Program (NIP) in Australia in 2018.

The report includes infographics providing a visual representation of the number of people receiving vaccines, or their parents and carers, who responded to an SMS about their health a few days after their child’s scheduled vaccination. The infographic shows the percentage of reported adverse events, reported non events, the percentage of those who took their child to a doctor or emergency department in the days after vaccination, the most commonly reported events of the parents and carers who reported one or more adverse events. The infographic also displays the vaccines given at each schedule point in 2018 and what diseases the vaccines protect against.

Key messages:

  • In Australia, vaccines against serious diseases are provided under the National Immunisation Program. Children receive these vaccines at key ages (called schedule points): 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months, and 4 years.
  • The National Immunisation Program also provides vaccines to adolescents, pregnant women and other groups at risk of serious diseases.
  • The AusVaxSafety system actively monitors vaccine safety throughout Australia. Clinics send SMS messages to people receiving vaccines (or their parents and carers) to ask if they had any reactions after receiving a vaccine. These reactions are called adverse events.
  • Independent experts keep track of the responses to make sure that any safety issues are detected quickly.
  • The AusVaxSafety network is growing every year. In 2018, more than 290 immunisation clinics participated in the AusVaxSafety system.
  • Between January and December 2018, more than 80,000 SMS messages were sent, and more than 58,000 responses were received.
  • In 2018, AusVaxSafety began actively monitoring the safety of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine in adolescents aged 11–14 years and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine in pregnant women.
  • Most adverse events after vaccination are mild and go away within a few days.
  • Overall, the types of adverse events and the percentage of children who had an adverse event stayed about the same after changes in the National Immunisation Program schedule for infants and children.
  • The results confirm that vaccines in the National Immunisation Program are very safe.
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