Potential Side Effects

After receiving any vaccine, you may experience minor side effects. Most side effects are mild and last no more than a few days.

Common reactions to COVID-19 vaccinations include:

  • a sore arm

  • headache

  • low level fever

  • muscle pain

  • chills

  • tiredness, or

  • joint pain.

Some people will have more significant flu-like symptoms from this vaccination compared to other vaccines and may require time away from normal activities. These symptoms are more common after the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine compared with the second dose.

People should seek medical attention immediately if they experience these symptoms:

  • a severe persistent headache with additional features

  — appears at least 4 days after vaccination

  — does not improve with simple painkillers

  — may be worse when lying down or accompanied by nausea and vomiting

  • neurological symptoms such as:

  — blurred vision

  — difficulty with speech

  — drowsiness

  • seizures

  • shortness of breath or chest pain

  • a swollen leg

  • persistent abdominal (belly) pain

  • tiny blood spots under the skin away from the site of injection together with symptoms above.

Serious Reactions such as allergic reactions are extremely rare and usually occur within 15 minutes of receiving your vaccine, which is why you are asked to wait in the pharmacy afterwards. After you leave the pharmacy, call 000 if you think you are having an allergic reaction and experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, a fast heartbeat, or collapsing.

Thombosis with Thombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) is a very rare immune response that may happen after receiving the COVID-19 AstraZeneca Vaccine. It involves blood clotting (thrombosis) in different parts of the body and bleeding due to low platelet levels (thrombocytopenia). People with this condition can become very unwell and may need to go to hospital. This condition can lead to long term disability and even death. TTS is treatable if detected early and most people make a full recovery. 

You can 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. If you need phone or on-site interpreting, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50

Who to contact

You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for specific advice about side effects.

If you think a COVID-19 vaccine has caused a side effect, you can report it. Reports of suspected side effects help the TGA monitor COVID-19 vaccine safety.

Our pharmacy can report side effects to the TGA on your behalf, or you can report your side effects yourself. Visit the TGA website to find out how.

Post vaccination resources

The Department of Health has developed resources about what you can expect after your vaccination. You can access these resources here:

  • After your COVID-19 (AZ) vaccination

For more COVID-19 vaccine related resources, visit the Department of Health website.

More information

After your COVID-19 vaccination, it is important that you continue to protect those around you by:

  • washing your hands regularly with soap and water

  • keeping 1.5m from others

  • making sure the COVIDSafe app is active on your phone

  • staying informed about local restrictions.

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