Adverse event following immunisation (AEFI)

What is an AEFI?

The international definition of an AEFI is an unwanted or unexpected event following the administration of a vaccine.

An AEFI may be caused by a vaccine or may occur by coincidence (that is it would have occurred regardless of vaccination).

Relevant legislation

The statutory requirement to notify adverse events after immunisation is specified in the Public Health Act 2016 (external site) and the Public Health Regulations 2017 (external site).

Responsibility for notification

The medical or nurse practitioner who becomes aware of an adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) has a statutory responsibility to notify the WA Department of Health within 72 hours of diagnosis.

Other immunisation providers should also report an AEFI.

Who must be notified

Under the Public Health Act 2016 (external site) the Chief Health Officer must be notified, with delegation to the Director of Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD) at the WA Department of Health.

Notifications are made through the Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS) system (external site) which is monitored by the Director of CDCD. 

How to notify

Notifications should be made to the Director of Communicable Disease Control Directorate (CDCD) at the WA Health Department using the WA Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS) system (external site).

Alternative ways to report an AEFI:

Should all AEFIs be reported?
You should report:
  • any significant event following immunisation
  • any vaccine reaction which requires assessment by a doctor or nurse, or which has affected a family’s confidence in future immunisation.
  • You do not need to report reactions such as redness or a small lump at the injection site or a temperature that has resolved after a few hours.

More information