Vaccine Reaction - Unwanted Side Effects

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Vaccine Reaction - Unwanted Side Effects
Vaccine Reaction - Unwanted Side Effects

Video: Vaccine Reaction - Unwanted Side Effects

Video: Vaccine Reaction - Unwanted Side Effects
Video: Deaths, Anaphylaxis, And Other Vaccine Adverse Effects (March 16th 2021 - USA) 2023, December

Side effects of vaccinations

Today's vaccines are tested according to strict regulations before they are approved. They have proven themselves in their effectiveness and tolerance. Nevertheless, as with the administration of other medicinal specialties, undesirable reactions cannot be completely ruled out. Typical complaints after a vaccination are, for example, reddening or swelling at the vaccination site, general reactions such as fever, headache and body aches are also possible. Serious so-called adverse reactions after vaccinations are very rare.


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  • Which vaccination reactions can occur?
  • Vaccine disease
  • Reporting of unexpected effects
  • What is vaccination damage?
  • When should not be vaccinated?

Which vaccination reactions can occur?

A vaccination reaction can be triggered by the pathogen contained in the vaccine itself or by the auxiliary substances supplied. After vaccination, the vaccinated person may experience redness or slight pain in the area of the injection site (local reactions). (Mild) fever, fatigue, aching limbs and gastrointestinal complaints (e.g. loss of appetite, diarrhea) can sometimes occur (general reactions). These reactions often only last a few days and are an expression of the organism's normal handling of the vaccine.

For detailed information on adverse reactions after vaccination, see Reactions and side effects after vaccination.

Vaccine disease

After the live vaccination against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox (varicella) - one to three weeks after the vaccination - signs of a mild course of the disease can appear. One speaks of symptoms of a "vaccine disease", for example:

  • Measles- or chickenpox-like rash
  • slight swelling of the parotid gland (parotid swelling),
  • Joint pain (arthralgia).

They are considered a normal response to vaccination. As a rule, these complaints are of a temporary nature and heal quickly and without consequences.

Note Disease symptoms that could be causally related to a vaccination and that go beyond the usual extent of a vaccination reaction (eg allergic reactions after a vaccination) are referred to as vaccination complications. It should be noted that a purely temporal relationship cannot automatically be used to derive a causation. Many diseases occur as so-called "background morbidity" independently of vaccinations.

Reporting of unexpected effects

Adverse effects suspected to be related to the use of vaccines must be reported to the Federal Office for Health Safety (BASG) (AGES Medical Market Authority) according to Section 75a of the Medicines Act and the Pharmacovigilance Ordinance. Members of the health professions (e.g. a doctor) are obliged to report this, but patients or their relatives can also submit reports of adverse effects to the BASG in writing or electronically (registration form). You can find more information under: Reports of side effects (BASG).

Note Short-term, temporary vaccination reactions need not be reported: for example, reddening that lasts for a few days, swelling at the vaccination site or a slight fever.

What is vaccination damage?

Vaccine damage is essentially a legal rather than a medical term. It is defined in the law as a severe permanent disability caused by vaccination. Such serious complications are extremely rare. The likelihood of a connection between vaccination and the harm is assessed in court with the help of medical experts.

Note Illnesses that can be vaccinated against are far more often accompanied by serious complications and permanent damage than the vaccinations themselves.

Vaccination Damage Act

The federal government distinguishes between vaccine side effects and vaccination damage, the legal basis for compensation is the Vaccination Damage Act. To be recognized, there must be a likelihood of a connection between vaccination and illness, which is assessed with the help of medical experts.

An essential requirement is that the vaccination in question has been recommended by experts from the National Vaccination Board and given in Austria. Even non-Austrian citizens are entitled to compensation.

Note Between 2008 and 2017, more than 8.2 million doses of vaccines were given in the free child vaccination program alone. In the same period, 13 vaccine damages were recognized, 6 of them after vaccinations with vaccines that are no longer used (smallpox and tuberculosis vaccines). So there are 8.2 million doses in the vaccination program plus the doses on the private market (no figures available) compared to 7 vaccine damage, namely after the following vaccinations (number in brackets): polio (2), hepatitis B (2), pneumococci (1), Combination vaccines (2).

When should not be vaccinated?

According to the technical information for the respective vaccine, attention must be paid to the situations and so-called contraindications, if they exist, the vaccination must not be carried out.

Furthermore, in general, the vaccination should be postponed if:

  • the person being vaccinated has an acute infection. Banal infections, even if they are accompanied by a slight fever (<38 ° C), are, however, in principle no obstacle.
  • there is an existing allergy to vaccine additives (e.g. antibiotics, egg white). In this case, vaccination should only be considered after consulting a specialist department.
  • There is a congenital or acquired immunodeficiency: Whether a vaccination is possible must be clarified by a doctor who specializes in immunology. Live vaccinations are usually excluded in such cases.
  • If you are pregnant, vaccinations with live vaccines are not possible. The administration of in-dead vaccines is largely possible and can protect the pregnant woman, the unborn child and the baby in the first months of life in the case of certain diseases. You can read more about this under “Vaccinations before pregnancy”.
  • An operation is planned: Inactivated vaccines should be administered at least two to three days, and live vaccines at least 14 days before a planned operation. This recommendation is based on purely theoretical considerations in order to avoid a misinterpretation of possible vaccine reactions (e.g. fever) as possible postoperative complications. If there is an urgency, an operation can be carried out at any time.