Detecting vaccine safety problems at the general practice level


The problem

Currently, general practice (GP) data is not adequately used to confirm the safety of vaccines. There are many sources of vaccine safety data in Australia, and It is important to analyse them all to ensure that all illnesses and people are included. GP data is important as it has information on conditions like herpes zoster(shingles), Bell’s palsy or tinnitus that may not be present elsewhere. Not using GP data may delay the detection of potential safety signals or miss them entirely, resulting in the continued use of potentially unsafe vaccines.


What we’re doing

SafeSigGP looks at the number of people who see a GP for any reason within 14 days of their vaccination. This number is then compared to the numbers from the previous two years for that same week. If more people have seen a doctor within 14 days of receiving a vaccination compared to the past two years, we’ll start an investigation to find the cause of this increase. All ages and vaccines delivered in Australia are analysed weekly.


SafeSigGP uses 3 large datasets in Australia called POLAR, Patron and Smartvax. Those datasets have more than 23 million non-identifiable patient records spread across Victoria, NSW and Western Australia.



SafeSigGP helps us find risks associated with vaccines faster than before. This encourages community and provider confidence in vaccinations with the knowledge that vaccine safety is being closely scrutinised.




Professor Jim Buttery

Chair of Health Informatics

[email protected]


A/Prof Hazel Clothier

Epidemiology Lead

[email protected]


Dr Aishwarya Shetty

Research Assistant, SAEFVIC

[email protected]