Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation guidance
Adverse events following immunisation
Serious Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) are notifiable conditions in NSW. Healthcare providers are required to report all uncommon, serious or unexpected AEFI or any event felt to be significant following immunisation. More information is available at 'How do I report an AEFI?' or below on this page.
NSW Health is monitoring the safety of the COVID-19 vaccination program using existing surveillance systems, along with:
- Specialist clinical advice regarding investigation and management of suspected adverse events through the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS);
- Convening a NSW Health COVID-19 Safety Expert Panel of immunisation and other clinical specialists, to review serious or unexpected adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs);
- Establishing an inquiry under the Public Health Act 2010;
- Assisting with causality assessments through the national Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG); and
- Benchmarking and information sharing with international partners.
COVID-19 vaccine safety surveillance
Frequently asked questions
Will I still need to wear PPE at work and follow the COVID safe rules in my daily life?
Australia will still need to continue with the measures already in place to control COVID-19. If the vaccine program is effective in decreasing community transmission and starting to reach a high proportion of people, it is hoped that we will be able to reduce some of these control measures. This is likely to be a slow process and will rely on many people being willing to have the vaccine. As the COVID-19 vaccine starts to be administered in NSW, it is essential that all healthcare workers maintain vigilance for COVID-19 and ensure they continue to follow infection prevention and control measures at work and COVID safe behaviours in their daily lives. It is essential to keep these practices in place to prevent spread of the virus until everyone can be adequately protected against COVID-19.
You will still need to be tested if you become sick with symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19.
Will vaccinations be mandatory for people working in NSW Health facilities or certain areas of health facilities?
While COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged, NSW Health is not, at this time, requiring staff to be vaccinated. Guidelines for the appropriate use of COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) and associated work practices should continue to be followed to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in health care settings. COVID-19 vaccination will offer an additional layer of protection from developing a symptomatic infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and therefore NSW Health staff are strongly encouraged to have the vaccination when it is offered to them unless there is a medical contraindication.
What will happen for staff who cannot, or choose not to be vaccinated?
Staff should continue with the current COVID precautions and infection prevention and control, including seeking testing should relevant symptoms emerge. This approach may be re-considered if the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 changes, or more evidence regarding vaccine efficacy in reducing transmission emerges, especially for high-risk settings.
Will students on placement in hospitals be eligible for the vaccine?
Students will be prioritised for vaccination according to whether they meet the criteria for vaccination in Phase 1a or 1b. The vaccine will then be offered to them in that Phase based on the stage of the rollout across the state and depending on their placement location.