Why Are 90% Of Vaccine Adverse Reactions Never Reported?

It’s been over 7 years since my second son suffered adverse reactions to vaccines (both 2 and 4 month vaccines, at which time I finally put 2 + 2 together, discontinued vaccinating, and started researching).

Yet I never reported my son’s reactions. At the time, I didn’t even know there was anybody to report it to, except a medical doctor…who snorted, and told me his health problems had nothing to do with vaccines.

It was not until several years later that I found out how to report a vaccine adverse reaction. Why is this information not shared widely? Do they actually want to know how many adverse reactions there are,  or not?

So it was with interest that I recently read a comment made by the head of the UKMHR (the UK body responsible for overseeing vaccine safety and reporting, much like the FDA in America, and the TGA in Australia). He estimated that only 10% of vaccine adverse reactions are ever reported.

If you search the Australian Adverse Drugs Reaction System for adverse reactions to vaccines, the numbers run into the tens of thousands. If we assume that our reporting statistics are similar to the UK (we should never just assume anything, but in the absence of information from the TGA, we’ll use UK reporting numbers), the true numbers are disturbing.

Some, such as the National Vaccine Information Center, say official reporting is closer to 1% of actual numbers, which is truly staggering

According to the CDC, over 30,000 reports of adverse reactions following vaccination are filed in the US every year. Approximately 10% – 15% are classified as “serious” (resulted in permanent disability, hospitalisation, life-threatening disease or death). Multiply that by 10, to factor in the other 90% of unreported reactions, and it equates to 30,000 – 45,000 serious reactions per year.

Vaccine injuries and adverse reactions are very real, and a lot more common than the general public realise. So why are so few reported?  It’s a multi-faceted issue, but from speaking with many, many parents, these seem to be the main reasons for lack of reporting.

  1. The average parent does not know who or where to report it to. In fact, the average parent is often shocked and overwhelmed to see firsthand that vaccines can cause severe reaction, since parents are not routinely given access to the vaccine inserts before consenting to vaccination.
  2. In some cases, the effects are gradual, or occur several days or weeks after vaccination. In these cases, there may be no connection made to the vaccine, and it is written off as “coincidence”.
  3. Even when an adverse reaction is observed and linked to the vaccine, parents are often reassured by family, friends, medical staff or social media that this is “normal” and nothing to be concerned about.
  4. A parent may “report” the adverse reaction informally to their GP or local health clinic. However, under current Australian laws, health professionals have no obligation to report these reactions formally with the TGA (and the vast majority won’t report it).
  5. Parents who don’t have a lot of medical knowledge can be intimidated by dealing with authorities or answering medical-related questions, especially if their concerns have already been brushed off by medical personnel.


Anybody can report a suspected adverse reaction to vaccines in Australia, including parents or family members.

Here is the link to download the reporting forms.

You will be required to provide your own contact details (anonymous reports are not allowed), some kind of identifier for the patient (eg. Initials), information regarding the adverse event, what vaccines were administered, date the event occurred, treatment following the event, outcome of event etc etc.

The TGA may contact you if further details are required.

The reporter’s name and details are not published, neither are any identifying details of the patient. It can take approximately 3 months for the report to be visible publicly on the Database of Adverse Events Notifications.


This page includes information and instructions on how to file an adverse reaction report to VAERS.