How do we know the COVID vaccine won’t have long-term side-effects?

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As Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins this week, many people still have questions about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, both in the short and long term.

As vaccine experts, we hear these concerns all the time, and it’s normal to have questions about a vaccine.

The good news is that scientists have already been testing COVID-19 vaccines for months. For starters, serious side-effects are very, very rare. And, together with what we know about previous vaccines, if side-effects are going to occur, they usually happen within a few months after getting a vaccine. This is why international medical regulators, including Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), require the first few months of safety data before approving new vaccines. This, plus information coming from vaccine recipients in the northern hemisphere, gives us confidence that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

In fact, most side-effects occur within the first one or two days. And most of these are minor, such as pain at the injection site, fatigue or fever — which are signs your immune system is building a response against the thing you’ve been vaccinated against.

What do we know about long-term side effects?

Since December, more than 200 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine worldwide — more than the total number of people who have been infected with the virus (112 million)…

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