Published: 25 August 2021
Revised: 12 August 2023


Active Monitoring: Post Vaccine Symptom Check


The Post Vaccine Symptom Check Survey is an additional way to report reactions to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty).

The information from the Post Vaccine Symptom Check survey supports ongoing safety monitoring of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) used in New Zealand. Find out more about how we are monitoring COVID-19 vaccine safety.

Survey results

Click on the links below to view the survey results.

The data collected from these PVSC surveys has not raised any new safety concerns with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

How it works

A sample of up to 25% of the population in New Zealand who received a Pfizer COVID-19 dose 1, dose 2 and first booster vaccine were randomly selected to participate in the survey in the days following their appointments

A sample of the population in New Zealand who received a paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were also randomly selected to participate in the survey in the days following their appointments.

A second booster vaccine is only available for certain eligible populations. Therefore, the number of people who received the second booster was much lower than the number who received dose 1, dose 2 and the first booster vaccine. To improve data quality of the population who received the second booster vaccine, a sample of more than 25% were invited to participate in the second booster survey.

If a reaction was reported, participants were asked to further describe what that reaction was.

Taking the survey was optional. If individuals did not want to participate in the survey, they did not have to give a reason, and it did not affect the care people received.

If an individual decided to take part but changed their mind later, they could opt out of participating in the survey at any time.

If an individual did not receive a text to be part of the survey, but they or their child(ren) experienced a reaction, they could still report it to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM).

You don’t need to be a health professional to submit a report and you don’t need to be certain that the reaction was caused by the vaccine.

If you are concerned about any reactions you or your child experiences or if you or your child are unwell please contact your GP, healthcare provider or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

There were 2 Post Vaccine Symptom Check survey campaigns.

The Adult Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign and the Child Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign

If an individual was selected, they or their child received a text message to the cell phone number provided as part of their vaccination journey.

  • Text 1: Sent 6 days after the dose of COVID-19 vaccine

This text asked them if they or their child had a side effect after their vaccine. They could respond with “NO” or “YES”. If they responded “YES”, they received a follow up text which linked them to a survey asking about their or their child’s reaction. If they did not want to receive these text messages, they could simply respond “STOP”.

Side effects of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Side effects of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can occur immediately or in the days after your vaccine.

Common reactions may include:

  • pain, redness or swelling at or near the injection site
  • headache and/or body aches
  • fatigue/tiredness
  • fever/high temperature
  • chills
  • nausea.

Other less common symptoms may include:

  • vomiting
  • racing heart
  • trouble breathing
  • chest pain.

The side effects of vaccination in children and young adults are similar to those seen in adults. These side effects are generally mild and should only last 1 or 2 days.

It’s important that anyone with an abnormal/racing heartbeat, trouble breathing, or chest tightness/discomfort in the days after vaccination seeks medical attention promptly.

You can find more information on side effects on the Ministry of Health website.

See the consumer medicine information for the full list of side effects for the Adult and Paediatric (Child) Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.

If you or your child are concerned about your health, please contact your GP or healthcare provider. You can also call Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.

How to report a reaction if you don’t receive a text message

We are monitoring reports of serious and non-serious reactions after the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty), the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (Vaxzevria), and the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine (Nuvaxovid) through reports to CARM.

If you don’t receive a text message for the Post Vaccine Symptom Check, it’s still important that you report any reactions to the vaccination.

You can submit a report on the CARM website or by calling the COVID-19 Vaccination Healthline for free at 0800 358 5453.

Frequently asked questions

How is my privacy protected?

The information you provide in this survey is confidential and is protected by the Privacy Act 2020 and by the safeguards we have put in place.

We ensure security by:

  • Keeping data safe from unauthorised access and use
  • Not releasing information that could identify individuals
  • Storing health information in the COVID Immunisation Register, where it is secure and protected

What is done with my responses?

  • Information collected from the survey will be grouped and reported on once we have enough data.
  • The Ministry of Health will analyse survey responses and investigate if there are any trends seen, for example rates of specific events in different ethnic groups, age ranges and/or genders. They will also investigate the response rates from different groups of people to ensure health equity.
  • The Ministry of Health will not follow up on any survey responses. If you or your child feel unwell or are concerned about your or your child’s reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, contact your healthcare provider.

How did the Ministry of Health get my mobile number?

  • The Post Vaccine Symptom Check uses the mobile numbers provided in the COVID Immunisation Register (CIR).
  • As this is a complementary method to improve safety assessments of the COVID-19 vaccines in New Zealand, it does not require you to register, similar to how your GP might follow up via text with results of a lab test.
  • If you wish to opt out of participating in the survey, you can do so at any time by replying STOP.
  • If you have previously declined to be contacted by the information provided in the CIR, you will not be contacted for the Post Vaccine Symptom Check.

Is it free to reply to the text message?

Yes, it is free to reply to the text message. You will need access to the internet to be able to complete the survey. This will use data if you are not connected to Wi-Fi.

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