Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination


Administering a vaccine stimulates the immune system to protect the body from the disease, therefore some common minor responses are expected following receipt of any vaccine. These include:

  • Local responses of mild pain, redness and swelling around injection site
  • Systemic responses including mild fever less than 39°C, irritability, mild headache, malaise and tiredness

Rarely, more severe responses are seen following vaccination with certain vaccines. The risk of complications from the disease itself is much greater than the risk from rare responses following immunisation. As with any medicine, very rare severe allergic responses (anaphylaxis) can occur following immunisation. For this reason, we ask people to wait 20 minutes after receiving vaccines.

Some responses, such as brief fainting spells, are related to the immunisation process not the vaccine itself. Also, unexpected medical events may coincidentally occur which are completely unrelated to being immunised.

The attached factsheet outlines a comparison of possible disease complications and vaccine responses. Click the download PDF button below to view.


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Last updated:
Jan 2023