You are here
What is a vaccine and how the TGA regulates vaccines.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is responsible for assessing vaccines and other medicines before they can be used in Australia. We only register a vaccine for use in Australia if its benefits are much greater than its risks.
What is a vaccine
Vaccines are medicines that protect you against specific diseases, such as measles, influenza (flu) or whooping cough. Vaccination is the act of receiving a vaccine. In most cases, this involves having the vaccine injected with a needle, in other cases, vaccines can be administered orally or as a nasal spray.
Vaccines can contain:
- dead viruses or bacteria
- severely weakened forms of viruses or bacteria
- small, purified components of viruses or bacteria
- messenger RNA (mRNA).
After receiving a vaccine, your body's immune system can remember the virus or bacterium and fight off an infection much more effectively than if it was encountering the virus or bacterium for the first time.
Vaccines protect you and the people around you from serious and life-threatening diseases. There are some people in the community who cannot be vaccinated because they are too young or too sick. Widespread vaccination helps protect these people by making it more difficult for a disease to spread.
Some people experience minor side effects following vaccination, such as mild fever or pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Serious side effects, like allergic reactions, are very rare.
The TGA monitors vaccines for safety after they are supplied in Australia. If you experience an adverse event (side effect) from a vaccine, you should seek assistance from a health professional and report the adverse event to the TGA.
For more information on how the TGA approves and regulates vaccines go to Vaccines overview.