Published: 25 August 2021

COVID-19

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.

The information from the Post Vaccine Symptom Check survey will be used to help support ongoing safety monitoring of Comirnaty, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine used in New Zealand.

Ten per cent of the New Zealand population will be randomly selected to receive a text message after both of their vaccination appointments, to ask if any reactions have occurred. People who have had a reaction will be asked to further describe what that reaction was.

Taking the survey is optional. If you don’t want to participate in the survey, you don’t have to give a reason, and it won’t affect the care you receive.

If you decide to take part, but change your mind later, you can opt out of participating in the survey at any time.

If you do not receive a text to be part of the survey, but experience a reaction, you can still report to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) on https://report.vaccine.covid19.govt.nz/s/.

The full list of side effects for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can be found in the consumer medicine information.

Any information you provide in the survey will not be followed up on.

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

Results from this survey will be analysed and displayed on this web page once enough data has been collected. This is likely to be late September 2021.

The Ministry of Health has been made aware that between 28 August and 3 September up to 7,000 people can have been charged for responding to our Post Vaccine Symptom text messages.
The programme resumes from Friday 10 September and the Ministry wishes to reassure people that the issue with charging has been resolved. All text replies will now be free of charge to anyone who wished to participate.
We thank people for their input into this survey as it helps us to confirm the safety of the vaccine and we apologise to those people who were charged.

How it works

You may be selected to receive a text message from the Ministry of Health for participation in the Post Vaccine Symptom Check.

If you are selected, you will receive three text messages to the cell phone number you have provided at three stages of your vaccination journey.

  • Text 1: Sent 6 days after your first dose of your COVID-19 vaccine
  • Text 2: Sent 6 days after your second dose of your COVID-19 vaccine
  • Text 3: Sent 43 days after your second dose of your COVID-19 vaccine

These texts will ask you if you have had a side effect after your vaccine. You can respond with “NO” or “YES”. If you respond “YES”, you will receive a follow up text which will link you to a survey asking you about this reaction. If you do not want to receive these text messages any more, simply respond “STOP”.

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

We’re already tracking reports of serious and non-serious reactions after either dose of Comirnaty, the Pfizer vaccine, 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 vaccination.

A report can be submitted on the CARM website (https://report.vaccine.covid19.govt.nz/s/) or by calling the COVID 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 this webpage once we have enough data (likely late September).
  • 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 feel unwell or are concerned about your reactions to Comirnaty, the Pfizer 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 on receipt of the first text message.
  • 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.
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