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Vaccines save millions of lives each year. Vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defences — the immune system— to recognize and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target. After vaccination, if the body is later exposed to those disease-causing germs, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness.

Vaccines are a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19 and it is hugely encouraging to see so many vaccines proving successful and going into development. Working as quickly as they can, scientists from across the world are collaborating and innovating to bring us tests, treatments and vaccines that will collectively save lives and end this pandemic.

Phase I trials test primarily for safety and preliminary dosing in a few dozen healthy subjects, while Phase II trials – following success in Phase I – evaluate immunogenicity, dose levels (efficacy based on biomarkers) and adverse effects of the candidate vaccine, typically in hundreds of people.

Vaccines typically require years of research and testing before reaching the clinic, but in 2020, scientists embarked on a race to produce safe and effective coronavirus vaccines in record time.

BBIBP-CorV[102]
Sinopharm: Beijing Institute of Biological Products, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products

Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine
Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology

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Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
BioNTech, Pfizer

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
Moderna, NIAID, BARDA, CEPI

Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
University of Oxford, AstraZeneca, CEPI

CoronaVac
Sinovac

Ad5-nCoV (Convidicea)
CanSino Biologics, Beijing Institute of Biotechnology of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences

EpiVacCorona
Vector Institute

BBV152 (Covaxin)
Bharat Biotech, Indian Council of Medical Research

Ad26.COV2.S
Janssen Pharmaceutica (Johnson & Johnson), BIDMC

CoviVac
The Chumakov Centre at the Russian Academy of Sciences

For more details about vaccines available in your country, please visit your Governments Health website or you can view more details at WHO website here

Like other medicines, all vaccines can cause side effects. Most side effects are mild and temporary (lasting 1 or 2 days). Common side effects include low-level fever and pain or redness where the injection was given.

Even when the suspected side effect is serious, it is possible – even likely – that it may not have been caused by the vaccine. The timing may be coincidental. There is an expected ‘background rate’ of coincidental adverse events. This is why the TGA investigates the reports it receives to determine if there is a genuine safety concern related to the vaccine.

If you have any questions or concerns about potential side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, please speak to your doctor.