The debate over adverse reactions associated with companion animal vaccination has considerably exercised the veterinary profession internationally over the past decade. A range of suspected adverse reactions to vaccines is reported including the onset of inflammatory, allergic, autoimmune or neoplastic diseases. Lack of efficacy, interference with diagnostic testing and other occasional suspected product-related issues are also reported. Available data suggest that the overall prevalence of true adverse reactions is exceedingly low and that vaccination does not significantly contribute to ill-health in companion animals. There is increasing public interest in vaccination issues with transfer of focus from publicity over human vaccine side effects to those perceived to occur in animals. We must not lose sight of the fact that vaccination is a safe procedure that has impacted significantly on infectious disease control. Reduced population uptake of vaccination leads to re-emergence of disease in both humans and animals. Nevertheless, there have recently been a series of practical recommendations produced to ensure reduced ‘vaccine load’ on our companion animals and vaccine manufacturers are moving towards developing non-adjuvanted products with an extended duration of immunity. These measures will further reduce the very small current risk of any adverse consequences to vaccination in our pet population.