Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones: Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19
If you're over the age of 4, it's advisable to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine. Children aged 6 months to 4 years old who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should also receive the vaccine. People over the age of 18 can get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if it has been more than 6 months since their previous vaccine or COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 vaccinations are free for all Australians, and they've been shown to be an effective deterrent against severe illness resulting from COVID-19.
What COVID-19 vaccine brands are available in Australia?There are currently three approved vaccine brands available in Australia to combat the COVID-19 virus.
Pharmaceutical firms have made adjustments to the vaccines in response to the development of COVID-19 variants like Delta and Omicron. The following COVID-19 vaccines are currently available in Australia:
Comirnaty, Comirnaty bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1, Comirnaty bivalent Original/Omicron BA.4/5
Spikevax, Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1, Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron BA.4/5
While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen) has received provisional approval in Australia, it is not yet available.
AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria vaccine is no longer available in Australia.
Your immunisation provider can provide guidance on which vaccine is the best fit for you.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website.
SCHEDULE YOUR VACCINATION — Utilise the Service Finder to book your COVID-19 vaccination or booster.
Primary DosesPrimary doses are the first doses of a vaccine that provide protection against a disease.
Most people require two first doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. Individuals with weaker immune systems, complicated or multiple health conditions, or those with significant health requirements as a result of their disability may require three doses.
The recommended time gap between the first doses is dependent on the vaccine brand and your age group.
It is preferable to receive the same vaccine brand for the two doses of the primary course. However, if you have medical reasons, or the same vaccine isn't available in Australia, you may receive an alternative vaccine brand for the second dose.
You can download the PDF copy of the primary course advice from the website, or view the text version. Your immunisation provider can provide advice on the appropriate COVID-19 vaccine to take for your primary doses.
To gain further insight, refer to the COVID-19 vaccine doses and administration guidelines provided by the Australian Government's Department of Health and Aged Care through this link.
Enhancing Protection with Booster Doses
In order to fortify defense against a replicable disease, a booster dose can be administered after completion of the primary course of vaccination. All individuals aged 18 years and above, who have not been vaccinated or diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 6 months, are eligible for a booster shot. This is emphasized to reduce the severity of illness caused by COVID-19.
People with Covid-19 vulnerabilities, including those over 65 years of age, or aged 18-64 with compromised immunity, multiple health conditions, or potent and complex health requirements or disability could benefit from the COVID-19 booster dose. Here is a downloadable infographic in PDF format, or you can access the text version.
Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccines
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has produced various strains during the COVID-19 outbreak, one of which is the Omicron variant, which spreads alarmingly fast. As a result, bivalent COVID-19 vaccines have become widely available. These vaccines are tailored to contain different virus strains, providing greater protection from various strains within Australia.
Pfizer and Moderna have both produced bivalent COVID-19 vaccines that are being administered by the Australian Government. No matter which vaccine was administered during the primary course, bivalent COVID-19 vaccines are advantageous as booster doses. For further information on the vaccines, read about Pfizer's bivalent COVID-19 vaccine and Moderna's bivalent COVID-19 vaccine.
If you're considering vaccination, here's why you should go for it
COVID-19 has the potential to cause severe health issues that may require long-term attention and can even result in death. Opting not to get vaccinated elevates your risk of bearing the brunt of the virus's ill effects. Once a considerable proportion of the population is immune, the virus will find it challenging to proliferate. This helps to protect people who are yet to receive the vaccination. Getting vaccinated is especially crucial for those who have underlying medical conditions, are over the age of 70, smoke, take certain medications, or are male. Here's a helpful link to learn more and educate yourself about COVID-19: COVID-19.
Most Australians are not required to take a vaccine, but if you work in specific sectors, you may need to get vaccinated for continued workplace attendance. To gain comprehensive knowledge and directives on the subject matter, liaise with your employer and the Department of Health website affiliated with your state or territory.
Different subpopulations have distinct vaccination recommendations. These groups include individuals struggling with immune system deficiencies, chronic health issues, disabilities, children and teenagers, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, in addition to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. If you find yourself in any of these groups, it is advisable to have a face-time appointment with a healthcare provider for tailored advice in line with your situation.
The Australian Government's Department of Health and Aged Care has put together various COVID-19 vaccination recommendations for different groups, such as the COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for persons with immune deficiencies. Further information on COVID-19 vaccination recommendations for expectant and nursing mothers is available on the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website.
COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly effective in preventing severe sickness from the virus. Vaccines help train your immune system to recognise and eliminate viruses and bacteria that could cause severe illnesses. There are numerous COVID-19 vaccine types available to protect against infection, all of which prompt an immune response specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Most vaccines use the coronavirus 'spike' protein to yield this immune response, with the immune system 'detecting' the spike protein as foreign and creating long-lasting immune cells and antibodies. With COVID-19 vaccine protection, even if a vaccinated person gets exposed to the virus, their immune response can contain and combat the virus effectively.
The cost of COVID-19 vaccination is entirely free for all in Australia, including Australian citizens, permanent residents, temporary visa holders, refugees, asylum-seekers, and others ineligible for Medicare. Healthcare providers will not charge consultation fees linked with getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and you can receive the vaccine free even if you do not have a Medicare account. If you are eligible for Medicare and do not have an account, you can enrol via the Services Australia website. If you are not eligible for Medicare, your vaccination appointment should be at a state- or territory-run vaccination clinic. For a more in-depth understanding, visit the COVID-19 digital certificates page on the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care website.
To make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination, kindly refer to your specific state or territories instructions for booking an appointment.
COVID-19 vaccines are being administered through various channels, including general practices, state- and territory-managed vaccination clinics, pharmacies, and Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services.
To secure an appointment, the easiest method is to utilize the free Service Finder tool. Opt for the COVID-19 vaccine clinic option and enter your postcode to locate clinics in your area.
Returning to the same clinic for your next dose of COVID-19 vaccine is unnecessary if you have already received one. It is also possible to receive vaccinations from other regions.
For further information, read 'How will I get my COVID-19 vaccine?' on the website of the Department of Health and Aged Care.
Can I receive influenza and COVID-19 vaccines on the same day?Yes, you can get vaccinated for both the flu and COVID-19 on the same day. However, these vaccines should be administered separately to different arms. This way, if one vaccine causes side effects, you will know which one is responsible.
Simultaneously receiving two different vaccines increases the likelihood of mild to moderate side effects. If you have experienced side effects in the past after receiving a vaccine for COVID-19 or the flu, you may choose to delay your vaccinations.
Kids aged 6 months to 4 years may be given COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines such as the flu vaccine on the same day if it is not practical to administer them on separate days. Against other vaccines, it is preferable to wait about 7 to 14 days before scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination.
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for further advice on scheduling your vaccinations.
After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, you may have some minor side effects. The most frequently reported side effects are soreness at the injection site.
Other general side effects include headaches, muscle pain, fever, and chills. Generally, side effects do not last more than a few days, and recovery takes place without issues.
Some individuals may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle pain, and fatigue due to the vaccine's immune response. In some cases, they might need to take time off from routine activities. If you have any concerns, seek advice from your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
After vaccination, you should seek medical attention if:
- you suspect you are experiencing an allergic reaction; you're concerned about a possible side effect or have developed new or unexpected symptoms; or you still experience an expected side effect of the vaccine a few days after receiving it.
- It is best to speak with your doctor if you have any worries.
More information on COVID-19 vaccine safety and side effects is available online from the Australian Government's Department of Health and Aged Care here.
CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Utilize the COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects Symptom Checker and determine whether you need to seek medical assistance.
To ensure proper monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is important to report any suspected side effects to your vaccination provider or a healthcare professional. Alternatively, you can self-report any side effects via the Therapeutic Goods and Administration by visiting their website.
What are the Methods for Obtaining and Proving Vaccination?
There are three ways to conveniently prove that you have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
These are: a COVID-19 digital certificate, an immunisation history statement (IHS), and an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate suitable for overseas travel.
You can access your COVID-19 digital certificate or IHS quickly and easily by logging into a variety of online platforms. These are: MyGov, Medicare Online, and My Health Record.
If you do not have access to these services, your vaccination provider can print your immunisation history statement for you.
If you are unable to access these services in any way, the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) can post your immunisation history statement to you by contacting them directly.
If you are planning on travelling abroad and require an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate, you can obtain this document by using your Medicare online account via MyGov or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.
It is crucial that your vaccination provider reports your COVID-19 vaccinations to AIR before obtaining your International Certificate.
If you are ineligible for Medicare services, you can contact the AIR or visit a Services Australia Service Centre to get your international certificate and find your nearest Service Centre by visiting findus.servicesaustralia.gov.au.
Last reviewed: April 2023
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