Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS)

The Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance system (WAVSS) is the central reporting service in WA for any significant  adverse events following immunisation (AEFI).

What will WAVSS provide?

WAVSS facilitates:

  • clinical support to patients and immunisation providers
  • information to immunisation providers about AEFI in their patients
  • specialised immunisation clinics for individuals with a history of a significant AEFI
  • maximum immunisation coverage which will result in improved control of vaccine-preventable diseases
  • improved knowledge of AEFI through systematic surveillance
  • improved reporting levels of AEFI’s to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) (external site). All AEFIs will be reported to the TGA by WAVSS staff.
What is an adverse event following immunisation (AEFI)?

The international definition of an AEFI is ‘an unwanted or unexpected event following the administration of a vaccine(s)’.

An AEFI may be due to:

  • a person’s response to a vaccine
  • AEFIs also include conditions that may occur following the incorrect handling or administration of a vaccine
  • coincidence, i.e., it would have occurred regardless of vaccination.
Who can report an AEFI in WA?

Healthcare professionals involved in the care of a vaccinated person who experiences an AEFI.

  • Medical practitioners in WA have a statutory requirement to notify AEFIs to the WA Department of Health as specified in Regulation 4 of the Health (Notification of Adverse Event After Immunisation) Regulations 1995.
  • Following any necessary medical assessment or treatment, members of the public can use the system to report adverse reactions to immunisation that they, a child or their family member may have experienced.

It is far better for an AEFI to be reported by more than one person than not at all.

Should all AEFIs be reported?

AEFIs are classified as 'common/minor' or 'significant'.

You do not need to report common/minor reactions. You can read more about the possible side-effects of vaccination.

Healthcare providers should report:

  • any significant (or rare and unexpected) AEFIs in both children and adults
  • any vaccine reaction that requires assessment by a doctor or nurse
  • any vaccine reaction that has affected a family’s confidence in future immunisation.

You can report adverse events even if you are not sure whether the vaccine caused the event.

How do I report an AEFI in Western Australia?

Health care providers can report possible AEFI using the online portal at AEFI-CAN WAVSS (external site)

Please use the AEFI-CAN reporting guide (PDF 1.3MB) to assist with reporting the AEFI online.

WAVSS staff can be contacted at wavss@health.wa.gov.au and 08 6456 0208

Members of the public may choose to report AEFI online, or by phone or email.

How will the clinical feedback system work?

Doctors and nurses who report a significant AEFI will receive advice by phone, email or letter to help clinically manage the future care and immunisation needs of these patients.

Can a patient be referred after experiencing an AEFI?

If required, the patient will be contacted to arrange an appointment for the Specialist Immunisation Clinic.

Specialised clinical services are available for people who have had significant AEFI, and where further vaccinations can be discussed or administered under medical supervision.

On rare occasions, there are adverse events that prevent patients from having further specific vaccination/s. For many others re-vaccination is possible.

How will AEFIs be reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)?

Medical practitioners in WA have a statutory requirement to notify adverse events after immunisation to the WA Department of Health as specified in Regulation 4 of the Health (Notification of Adverse Event After Immunisation) Regulations 1995.

All AEFIs will be reported to the TGA by WAVSS staff.

Why is it important to collect information about AEFI?

WAVSS will work in the early detection and the appropriate and quick responses to AEFIs, with the overall aim of reducing the negative impact that such events can have on the health of individuals and on the wider immunisation program.

WAVSS will carefully monitor adverse events after immunisation in WA, provide individual support to immunisation providers and clinical assistance for families affected by an AEFI.

The clinical follow-up service provided by WAVSS will increase the confidence of patients and their immunisation providers to continue the immunisation schedule, even if they have experienced an AEFI.

Last reviewed: 21-05-2020