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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health has launched the Post Vaccine Symptom Check, a mobile-based survey that will help monitor reactions to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in New Zealand, COVID-19 vaccination programme GM Post Event, Dr Tim Hanlon says. 

“New Zealand already has a reporting system in place for monitoring reactions to any vaccine or medicine, which can be submitted by both patients and their healthcare professionals through the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM).

“The Post Vaccine Symptom Check is another tool in our kete. It’s a proactive way to increase our data collection about reactions to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“Up to 10 percent of New Zealanders who receive a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be randomly selected to participate in the survey.

“A text message will be sent from the Ministry of Health six days after each dose of the vaccine and 43 days after the second dose, to ask whether you had any reactions to the vaccine. The first texts will be sent in the coming days. 

Participants can reply to the message for free by texting YES, NO or STOP to opt out.

“If the reply is YES, a unique URL will be sent via text, linking to a survey where participants are asked to provide more details about their reactions.

“We ask that everyone who receives a text message participates, even if they haven’t had a reaction. If you don’t receive a text, you can report any reactions to the Pfizer vaccine through the CARM website or by calling Healthline, even if they are mild.

“The Post Vaccine Symptom Check will run daily for the remainder of the COVID-19 Immunisation Programme. Data collected from the survey will be grouped and anonymously displayed on the Medsafe website once there is enough data to report, likely by late-September. 

“Responses to the survey are being captured for data collection purposes only and individual cases will not be followed up on by CARM.

“The Post Vaccine Symptom Check is an important data collection tool, but it does not replace advice from a healthcare professional.

“Most side effects of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are mild and don’t last long, however, if you feel unwell after your vaccination, speak to your healthcare professional for advice or call Healthline.