About COVID-19 Vaccination
People who have a COVID-19 vaccination have a much lower chance of getting a COVID-19 infection, in particular a very much lower risk of dying or severe illness requiring hospitalisation.
There are three brands of COVID-19 vaccine in use in Australia. All are effective and safe having followed all the usual research steps in their development and meeting criteria for provisional registration with our TGA. Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) vaccines are available for all people 12 years and older. Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) is another vaccine for adults 18 years and older.
It is recommended to have two doses of the same brand of vaccine. The person giving you your vaccination will discuss with you the best timing for the second vaccination dose. People who are severely immunocompromised should have a third dose 2 months after the second to complete their primary course. For other adults 18 years and over it is now recommended to consider a booster dose at least 6 months after the second. This booster should be the Pfizer Cominarty vaccine no matter what was used for the primary course.
Extensive studies of COVID-19 vaccines have been undertaken to make sure they are safe and data continues to be gathered and reported to us. Most side effects are mild. They may start on the day of vaccination and last for around 1-2 days. As with any vaccine or medicine, there may be rare and/or unpredictable side effects.
A very rare side effect of blood clotting with low blood platelet levels (TTS – thrombosis with thrombocytopaenia syndrome) has been reported following vaccination with Vaxzevria. Cominarty and Spikevax vaccination may very rarely result in myocarditis or pericarditis, more common after the second dose in younger males.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any post-vaccination side effects that you are worried about. It is very important that all adverse effects are reported to increase our knowledge about the program.
Some people may still get COVID-19 after vaccination. You must still follow public health precautions as required in your state or territory to stop the spread of COVID-19 including:
- keep your distance – stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people
- washing your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
- wear a mask
- stay home if you are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms, and arrange to get a COVID-19 test.
Vaccination providers record all vaccinations on the Australian Immunisation Register, as required by Australian law. You can view your vaccination record online through your:
- Medicare account
- MyGov account
How the information you provide is used
For information on how your personal details are collected, stored and used visit https://www.health.gov.au/using-our-websites/privacy/privacy-notice-for-covid-19-vaccinations.
If you are receiving your vaccination in a Pharmacy, the Pharmacy is required to disclose some of your personal information to the Pharmacy Programs Administrator. This is so the Pharmacy can claim payment from the Australian Government. More information about why this is required and the information disclosed is provided at the link above.
On the day you receive your vaccine
Before you get vaccinated, tell the person giving you the vaccination if you:
- Have had an allergic reaction, particularly anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, to an ingredient of a COVID-19 vaccine, or to other vaccines or medications.
- Are immunocompromised. This means that you have a weakened immune system that may make it harder for you to fight infections and other diseases. You can still have a COVID-19 vaccine, but may wish to consider the best timing of vaccination depending on your underlying condition and/or treatment.