Australia’s trusted independent immunisation experts

Compare the risks and benefits

To make the decision that’s best for you, it’s useful to think about how the risks associated with COVID-19 compare with the risks of vaccination.

The charts on this page put those risks side by side so you can easily compare them. Here's how to use the charts:

1. Select the vaccine you'd like to know more about. Your doctor may recommend a particular vaccine depending on your age, your personal health history, and the availability of vaccines in your area.

2. Select whether you want to see risks as a percentage (%), or as numbers of people (for example, per 1,000 or per million).

3. Compare the risks of the virus with the risks of the vaccine. Click where indicated to expand the chart and see risks of specific symptoms in more detail.


Which vaccine you would like to know more about?

Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty)

AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria)

Moderna (Spikevax)

About the Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) Vaccine

Comirnaty is a vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. It is also known as BNT162b2 or 'the Pfizer vaccine'.

It is an mRNA vaccine which means it uses genetic code from a part of the virus to train your immune system. The genetic code is quickly broken down by your body and cleared away. You can not catch COVID-19 from Comirnaty (Pfizer).

After the second dose, Comirnaty (Pfizer) is 87-88% effective against the Delta variant.1,2 There is a small chance that you could catch COVID-19 even after you've been vaccinated. If you do, your illness will usually be mild.2-4

How it is Delivered

The Pfizer vaccine will be given to you in two doses, three to six weeks apart.If you’re over 18, it is recommended that you get a booster dose six months after your second dose.

The chart below compares the risks of COVID-19 with the risks of the Pfizer vaccine.5-16 

  • Percentage of People
  • Number of People
HEALTH RISKS
With COVID-19
Percentage of people
With Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine
Symptoms
90%
90 in 100
56%
56 in 100
2-3 weeks
DURATION OF SYMPTOMS
1-3 days
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL SYMPTOMS
0%
zero
injection pain, redness, swelling
43%
43 in 100
86%
86 in 100
fever
13%
13 in 100
40%
40 in 100
fatigue
43%
43 in 100
26%
26 in 100
muscle or joint pain
34%
34 in 100
20%
20 in 100
shortness of breath
0%
zero
12%
12 in 100
sore throat
0%
zero
12%
12 in 100
headache
33%
33 in 100
7%
7 in 100
nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
11%
11 in 100
4%
4 in 100
runny nose
0%
zero
0.0030%
3 in 100,000
swollen lymph nodes
0.08%
78 in 100,000
0.01%
11 in 100,000
inflammation of the heart muscle
0.0027%
2.7 in 100,000
0.01%
11 in 100,000
Inflammation of the heart lining
0.0010%
1 in 100,000
severe allergic reactions
0%
zero
0.0005%
5 in 1 million
hospitalisation
11.5%
11,500 in 100,000
0.0027%
2.7 in 100,000
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUPS
2.8%
2,800 in 100,000
under 10 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
4.5%
4,500 in 100,000
10-19 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
2.6%
2,600 in 100,000
20-29 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
6.2%
6,200 in 100,000
30-39 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
7.9%
7,900 in 100,000
40-49 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
11.7%
11,700 in 100,000
50-59 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
18.8%
18,800 in 100,000
60-69 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
25.6%
25,600 in 100,000
70-79 years
up tp 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
50.8%
50,800 in 100,000
80-89 years
0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
58.5%
58,500 in 100,000
over 90 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
intensive care
4.7%
47 in 1,000
0%
zero
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUPS
0.1%
1 in 1,000
under 10 years
0%
zero
0.5%
5 in 1,000
10-19 years
0%
zero
0.6%
6 in 1,000
20-29 years
0%
zero
2.4%
24 in 1,000
30-39 years
0%
zero
2%
20 in 1,000
40-49 years
0%
zero
5.4%
54 in 1,000
50-59 years
0%
zero
8.1%
81 in 1,000
60-69 years
0%
zero
12.6%
126 in 1,000
70-79 years
0%
zero
22%
220 in 1,000
80-89 years
0%
zero
36.6%
366 in 1,000
over 90 years
0%
zero
long-term health impacts
5-20%
5-20 in 100
0%
zero
+ CLICK TO SEE DATA IN DETAIL
20%
20 in 100
symptoms after 1 month
0%
zero
9%
9 in 100
symptoms after 2 months
0%
zero
5%
5 in 100
symptoms after 3 months
0%
zero
deaths
2%
2 in 100
0%
zero
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUPS
0.04%
4 in 10,000
up to 50 years
0%
zero
0.39%
39 in 10,000
50-59 years
0%
zero
1.43%
143 in 10,000
60-69 years
0%
zero
8.86%
886 in 10,000
70-79 years
0%
zero
33%
3,300 in 10,000
over 80 years
0%
zero
About the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) Vaccine

Vaxzevra is a vaccine developed by The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. It is also known as ‘the AstraZaneca vaccine’.

Vaxzevra (AstraZeneca) uses genetic code from a part of the virus to train your immune system to recognise and fight COVID-19. This vaccine is different from mRNA vaccines because the genetic code is carried inside a harmless version of the common cold that has been modified or 'inactivated' so that it can't cause infection. You can not catch COVID-19 from Vaxzevra (AstraZeneca).

After the second dose, Vaxzevra (AstraZeneca) is about 67% effective against the Delta variant.1 There is a small chance that you could catch COVID-19 even after you've been vaccinated. If you do, your illness will usually be mild.2-3

How it is Delivered

The AstraZeneca vaccine will be given to you in two doses, four to twelve weeks apart.2 If you’re over 18, it is recommended that you get a booster dose six months after your second dose.  

The chart below compares the risks of COVID-19 with the risks of the AstraZeneca vaccine.2-15

  • Percentage of People
  • Number of People
HEALTH RISKS
With COVID-19
Percentage of people
With AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine
symptoms
90%
90 in 100
56%
56 in 100
2-3 weeks
DURATION OF SYMPTOMS
1-3 days
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL SYMPTOMS
0%
zero
injection pain, redness, swelling
34%
34 in 100
86%
86 in 100
fever
19%
19 in 100
63%
63 in 100
cough
0%
zero
40%
40 in 100
fatigue
44%
44 in 100
26%
26 in 100
muscle or joint pain
36%
36 in 100
20%
20 in 100
shortness of breath
0%
zero
12%
12 in 100
sore throat
0%
zero
12%
12 in 100
headache
37%
37 in 100
6%
6 in 100
nausea, vomiting, diahroea
13%
13 in 100
4%
4 in 100
runny nose
0%
zero
0.0032%
3 in 100,000
swollen lymph nodes
0.3%
300 in 100,000
severe allergic reactions
0%
zero
0.0005%
5 in 1 million
blood clots
0.4%
400 in 100,000
0.0020%
2 in 100,000
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUPS
up to 0.4%
up to 400 in 100,000
up to 50 years
0.0031%
3.1 in 100,000
up to 0.4%
up to 400 in 100,000
50-59 years
0.0027%
2.7 in 100,000
up to 0.4%
up to 400 in 100,000
60-69 years
0.0014%
1.4 in 100,000
up to 0.4%
up to 400 in 100,000
70-79 years
0.0018%
1.8 in 100,000
up to 0.4%
up to 400 in 100,000
over 80 years
0.0019%
1.9 in 100,000
hospitalisation
11.5%
11,500 in 100,000
0.0016%
1.6 in 100,000
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUPS
2.8%
2,800 in 100,000
under 10 years
up to 0.0016%
up to 1.6 in 100,000
4.5%
4,500 in 100,000
10-19 years
up to 0.0016%
up to 1.6 in 100,000
2.6%
2,600 in 100,000
20-29 years
up to 0.0016%
up to 1.6 in 100,000
6.2%
6,200 in 100,000
30-39 years
up to 0.0016%
up to 1.6 in 100,000
7.9%
7,900 in 100,000
40-49 years
up to 0.0016%
up to 1.6 in 100,000
11.7%
11,700 in 100,000
50-59 years
up to 0.0016%
up to 1.6 in 100,000
18.8%
18,800 in 100,000
60-69 years
up to 0.0016%
up to 1.6 in 100,000
25.6%
25,600 in 100,000
70-79 years
up to 0.0016%
up to 1.6 in 100,000
50.8%
50,800 in 100,000
80-89 years
up to 0.0016%
up to 1.6 in 100,000
58.5%
58,500 in 100,000
over 90 years
up to 0.0016%
up to 1.6 in 100,000
intensive care
4.7%
47 in 1,000
0.0005%
5 in 1 million
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUPS
0.1%
1 in 1,000
under 10 years
up to 0.0005%
up to 5 in 1 million
0.5%
5 in 1,000
10-19 years
up to 0.0005%
up to 5 in 1 million
0.6%
6 in 1,000
20-29 years
up to 0.0005%
up to 5 in 1 million
2.4%
24 in 1,000
30-39 years
up to 0.0005%
up to 5 in 1 million
2%
20 in 1,000
40-49 years
up to 0.0005%
up to 5 in 1 million
5.4%
54 in 1,000
50-59 years
up to 0.0005%
up to 5 in 1 million
8.1%
81 in 1,000
60-69 years
up to 0.0005%
up to 5 in 1 million
12.6%
126 in 1,000
70-79 years
up to 0.0005%
up to 5 in 1 million
22%
220 in 1,000
80-89 years
up to 0.0005%
up to 5 in 1 million
36.6%
366 in 1,000
over 90 years
up to 0.0005%
up to 5 in 1 million
long-term health impacts
5-20%
5-20 in 100
0.0040%
4 in 100,000
+ CLICK TO SEE DATA IN DETAIL
20%
20 in 100
symptoms after 1 month
up to 0.0040%
up to 4 in 100,000
9%
9 in 100
symptoms after 2 months
up to 0.0040%
up to 4 in 100,000
5%
5 in 100
symptoms after 3 months
up to 0.0040%
up to 4 in 100,000
deaths
2%
2 in 100
0.0001%
1 in 1 million
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUPS
0.04%
4 in 10,000
up to 50 years
up to 0.0001%
up to 1 in 1 million
0.39%
39 in 10,000
50-59 years
up to 0.0001%
up to 1 in 1 million
1.43%
143 in 10,000
60-69 years
up to 0.0001%
up to 1 in 1 million
8.86%
886 in 10,000
70-79 years
up to 0.0001%
up to 1 in 1 million
33%
3,300 in 10,000
over 80 years
up to 0.0001%
up to 1 in 1 million
About the Moderna (Spikevax) Vaccine

Spikevax is a vaccine developed by Moderna. It is also known as 'the Moderna vaccine'.

It is an mRNA vaccine which means it uses genetic code from a part of the virus to train your immune system. The genetic code is quickly broken down by your body and cleared away. You can not catch COVID-19 from Spikevax (Moderna).

After the second dose, Spikevax (Moderna) is about 94% effective against COVID-19.1 It may be slightly less effective against more recent variants, such as the Delta variant, but it will still protect you against serious illness and reduce your risk of hospitalisation and death.1

How it is Delivered

The Moderna vaccine will be given to you in two doses, four to six weeks apart.1 If you’re over 18, it is recommended that you get a booster dose six months after your second dose.

The chart below compares the risks of COVID-19 with the risks of the Moderna vaccine.1-13

  • Percentage of People
  • Number of People
HEALTH RISKS
With COVID-19
Percentage of people
With Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine
symptoms
90%
90 in 100
38%
38 in 100
2-3 weeks
DURATION OF SYMPTOMS
1-3 days
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL SYMPTOMS
0%
zero
injection pain, redness, swelling
33%
33 in 100
86%
86 in 100
fever
6%
6 in 100
63%
63 in 100
cough
0%
zero
40%
40 in 100
fatigue
24%
24 in 100
26%
26 in 100
muscle or joint pain
18%
18 in 100
20%
20 in 100
shortness of breath
0%
zero
12%
12 in 100
sore throat
0%
zero
12%
12 in 100
headache
18%
18 in 100
6%
6 in 100
nausea, vomiting, diahroea
7%
7 in 100
4%
4 in 100
runny nose
0%
zero
0.0030%
3 in 100,000
swollen lymph nodes
14%
14 in 100
0.01%
11 per 100,000
inflammation of the heart muscle
0.0027%
2.7 per 100,000
0.01%
11 per 100,000
Inflammation of the heart lining
0.0010%
1 per 100,000
severe allergic reactions
0%
zero
0.0003%
2.5 in 1 million
hospitalisation
11.5%
11,500 in 100,000
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUPS
2.8%
2,800 in 100,000
under 10 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
4.5%
4,500 in 100,000
10-19 years
up tp 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
2.6%
2,600 in 100,000
20-29 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
6.2%
6,200 in 100,000
30-39 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
7.9%
7,900 in 100,000
40-49 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
11.7%
11,700 in 100,000
50-59 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
18.8%
18,800 in 100,000
60-69 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
25.6%
25,600 in 100,000
70-79 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
50.8%
50,800 in 100,000
80-89 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
58.5%
58,500 in 100,000
over 90 years
up to 0.0027%
up to 2.7 in 100,000
intensive care
4.7%
47 in 1,000
intensive care
0%
zero
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUPS
0.1%
1 in 1,000
under 10 years
0%
zero
0.5%
5 in 1,000
10-19 years
0%
zero
0.6%
6 in 1,000
20-29 years
0%
zero
2.4%
24 in 1,000
30-39 years
0%
zero
2%
20 in 1,000
40-49 years
0%
zero
5.4%
54 in 1,000
50-59 years
0%
zero
8.1%
81 in 1,000
60-69 years
0%
zero
12.6%
126 in 1,000
70-79 years
0%
zero
22%
220 in 1,000
80-89 years
0%
zero
36.6%
366 in 1,000
over 90 years
0%
zero
long-term health impacts
5-20%
5-20 in 100
0%
zero
+ CLICK TO SEE DATA IN DETAIL
20%
20 in 100
symptoms after 1 month
0%
zero
9%
9 in 100
symptoms after 2 months
0%
zero
5%
5 in 100
symptoms after 3 months
0%
zero
deaths
2%
2 in 100
0%
zero
+ CLICK TO SEE INDIVIDUAL AGE GROUPS
0.04%
4 in 10,000
up to 50 years
0%
zero
1.43%
143 in 10,000
60-69 years
0%
zero
8.86%
886 in 10,000
70-79 years
0%
zero
33%
3,300 in 10,000
over 80 years
0%
zero