Report a side effect to a vaccine: Consumers
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Everyone who witnesses or experiences a side effect to a vaccine is strongly encouraged to report it. Ask your health care provider (for example, doctor, nurse or pharmacist) to:
- complete an adverse events following immunization (AEFI) form (PDF)
- submit it on your behalf to your local public health unit
Reports submitted by health care providers often contain additional information that is useful for Health Canada's safety assessment.
If you are unable to report adverse reactions through a health care provider or if you prefer to report directly to Health Canada:
Report a side effect to Health Canada
To mail your report to the Canada Vigilance Program, use the postage-paid label.
Learn more about reporting adverse events following an immunization.
What are vaccines
Vaccines are products that produce immunity to a specific disease. Most vaccines are given by injection (needle) but some are given orally (by mouth) or nasally (sprayed into the nose).
They protect people against serious and potentially deadly diseases, such as diphtheria, measles, polio and tetanus.
Tracking adverse events following immunization
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) share the monitoring of the safety of vaccines in Canada.
PHAC manages the Canadian Adverse Events Following Immunization Surveillance System (CAEFISS), which is a post-market vaccine safety surveillance system. CAEFISS reports are submitted by public health authorities in provinces and territories, which in turn receive them from local public health units. Nurses, doctors or pharmacists who provide immunizations or care for people who experience an adverse event from a vaccine generate most of these reports.
In addition, when manufacturers are made aware of adverse reactions to a drug or vaccine, they must report to Health Canada:
- serious adverse reactions in Canada
- unexpected serious adverse reactions in other countries
- unusual failures in efficacy for new drugs in Canada
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