Published: 25 August 2021
Revised: 20 January 2022

COVID-19

Post Vaccine Symptom Check survey results

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

For information about the current PVSC survey campaign, click here.

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. The data collected through PVSC did not raise any new safety concerns with the Pfizer vaccine.

From 27 August 2021 to 5 October, the Ministry of Health sent text messages to a random sample of people following their Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations to ask if they had experienced an adverse event. Answering this text message was optional. People who had a reaction to the vaccine were asked to fill out a survey to provide more information about the event.

Not everyone who has an adverse event following their vaccination will report it via the PVSC. The information here shows the number of reports from a randomly sampled population, not the total number of people who experienced an adverse event after their vaccination.

The number of vaccine adverse event reports in Post Vaccine Symptom Check (PVSC) can be influenced by how many people are being vaccinated, the nature of the symptoms (eg, how painful the vaccination was), and other factors (eg, concurrent viral infection or other medications taken) which vary over time.

The presented information is limited by the responses to the survey. Survey responses may change over time.

Summary of text message responses, up to and including 10 October 2021

Number of people sent text messages Number of people who responded to the text messages Percentage of people who responded
94,416 50,258 53%


Of those who participated, the average age was 44 years (age range: 12–97), 52% were female, 8% Māori and 4% Pacific peoples.

Of the responses received:

  • 19,208 (38%) - reported at least one adverse event
  • 31,050 (62%) - did not have an adverse event

Responses by dose

Reported at least one adverse event Dose 1 Dose 2
Count Precentage Count Precentage
No 15,029 66% 16,021 59%
Yes 7,684 34% 11,524 42%


66% of people who responded after dose 1 did not report an adverse event.

Of those who responded to the text message after dose 2 of the Comirnaty vaccine, the majority of responders (59%) did not have an adverse event.

Adverse events experienced by ethnicity and vaccine dose

Ethnicity Dose 1 Dose 2
Count Percentage Count Perecentage
Māori 754 36% 837 41%
Pacific peoples 313 31% 411 40%
Asian 935 26% 1677 40%
European or other 5,627 36% 8,533 43%
Unknown 56 30% 66 34%

Note: Percentage for each dose number and ethnicity group is calculated based on the number of people that participated in those groups.

Frequently reported adverse events

Reaction Dose 1 Dose 2
Count Percentage Count Percentage
Fatigue or tiredness 2,567 11.3% 4,946 18.0%
Stomach symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain) 496 2.2% 872 3.2%
Headache, muscle/body aches, joint aches/pain, or chills (shivering and feeling cold) 2,503 11.0% 4,936 17.9%
Rash (not at injection site) 88 0.4% 107 0.4%
Fever/high temperature 377 1.7% 1,202 4.4%
Injection site reaction (pain, redness, swelling, itching at or near the injection site) 3,310 14.6% 5,057 18.4%

Note: PVSC survey answers may come from one person, but that person may report more than one adverse event. As with any adverse event reports, not all symptoms reported may be caused by the vaccine; they may be coincidental and due to other causes.

People that visited a doctor after vacciniation

Less than 1 in 200 people reported visiting a doctor in the days after Pfizer dose 1 vaccination Just over 1 in 200 people reported visiting a doctor in the days after Pfizer dose 2 vaccination
Less than 1 in 200 people Just over 1 in 200 people

Note: The PVSC survey does not specifically ask participants the reason why they accessed medical care in the days following vaccination. Therefore, medical attendance reported may or may not be related to any adverse events reported.

People that visited a doctor after vaccination by ethnicity

Ethnicity Percentage
Māori 0.4%
Pacific peoples 0.6%
Asian 0.4%
European or other 0.5%
Unknown 0.6%

Note: The PVSC survey does not specifically ask participants the reason why they accessed medical care in the days following vaccination. Therefore, medical attendance reported may or may not be related to any adverse events reported.

The profile of reported events to PVSC of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine is similar to that reported in clinical trials and from post-marketing surveillance overseas. Based on this data we have not identified any new safety concerns.

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