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About the COVID-19 vaccine

What to expect with your COVID-19 vaccine

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There are three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia:

  • Pfizer (Comirnaty)
  • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) and
  • Moderna (Spikevax).

These vaccines have been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The Australian Government also has vaccine agreements with Novavax, however these vaccines are not yet approved for use in Australia by the TGA. More information about these vaccines will be provided if approval is given.

How is the COVID-19 vaccine given?

The vaccine is given via an injection into your upper arm by a health professional who has been trained in giving the COVID-19 vaccine. To get the full benefit of the vaccine you will need two injections. It’s really important you have your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure you have maximum immunity. Remember to book your second dose as soon as possible after your first dose.

There is a window in which you can receive your second dose:
  • Pfizer (Comirnaty) should be administered 3–6 weeks from your first vaccination.
  • Moderna (Spikevax) should be administered 4–6 weeks from your first vaccination.
  • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) should be administered 12 weeks from your first vaccination.

However, if you do not receive your second dose within the above timeframes, there is no cause for panic or concern. You will still be afforded excellent protection against severe COVID-19 infection and you do not need to start the vaccination regimen again.

You should book your second dose as close to this window as possible. If you are having difficulty finding a booking within this window, contact the GP or clinic where you had your first dose or call 134 COVID (134 268) if you had your first vaccination at a Queensland Health vaccination location.

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

All people aged 12 and over can receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine.

Adults aged 60 years and over can receive the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine. This is based both on the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age (and thus increased benefit of vaccination) and the potentially lower risk of the rare side effect Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) with increasing age.

AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine can still be used for people aged under 60 years if:

  • you have already received your first dose without any serious side effects
  • the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for you
  • you have made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.

Read more about Queensland’s vaccine rollout.

Currently in Australia, Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) have been approved for people aged 12 years and over and AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) has been approved for adults aged 18 years and over.

Who cannot get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You must not get a COVID-19 vaccine if you have had any of the following:

  • Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
  • Anaphylaxis after exposure to any ingredient of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have recently had any other vaccine (e.g. flu vaccine) you should wait at least 7 days to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Make sure you book your appointments with enough time between them.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women

If you are pregnant you can receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.

If you are breastfeeding you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at any time. You do not need to stop breastfeeding before or after vaccination.

No safety concerns have been identified for women who received a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. If you have any concerns speak with your doctor or health professional for advice.

Side effects

All medicines and vaccines can cause side effects. If you do experience any side effects, most of them are minor and temporary. However, some side effects may need medical attention. Read about potential COVID-19 vaccine side effects.

Long-term effects of COVID-19 vaccines

Like all medicines, COVID-19 vaccines do not last long in your body. The ingredients in vaccines degrade within a few days, and it takes a few weeks for your body’s immune response to develop. When there are rare, but serious side effects from vaccines, they occur within the first few weeks, while your immune system is being activated.

There is a very rare and serious risk of TTS with AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine and myocarditis or pericarditis from Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccines.

Immunity from vaccination is much less risky than immunity through exposure to a pathogen like the virus that causes COVID-19. We do not have long-term research on health outcomes of COVID-19, however we do know the virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain, even in mild cases, which increases the risk of long-term health problems.

Vaccine product information

Vaccine safety monitoring and reporting side effects

If you have had a COVID-19 vaccination and think you may be experiencing side-effects, you can check online for advice.

Check side effects

Suspected side effects can be reported to your vaccination provider or other healthcare professional. They will then make a formal report on your behalf to Queensland Health.

Questions and answers about COVID-19 vaccines

What is a COVID-19 vaccine?

Just as we have vaccines to help protect us against diseases like measles, whooping cough, chicken pox or the flu, there is a vaccine that will help protect you against COVID-19. There are different types of COVID-19 vaccines, but they all aim to protect you against COVID-19.

There are three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia:

  • Pfizer (Comirnaty)
  • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) and
  • Moderna (Spikevax).

These vaccines have been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

At the current time, the use of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine is preferred over AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine in adults aged under 60 years who have not already received the first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine. This is based both on the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age (and thus increased benefit of vaccination) and the potentially lower, but not zero, risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome with increasing age.

AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 Vaccine can be used in adults aged under 60 years where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual, and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.

People who have had their first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 Vaccine without any serious adverse effects can be given their second dose. This includes adults under 60 years of age. People who have had blood clots associated with low platelet levels after their first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 Vaccine should not be given their second dose.

How does the vaccine work?

Some infectious diseases are unknown to your body and your body doesn’t know how to protect you from them. A vaccination is an effective and safe way to teach your body’s immune system how to fight off certain diseases. After having a vaccine, your body creates antibodies to protect you from that disease.

If you have the COVID-19 vaccine and are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 in the future, your immune system will be respond faster and better against the virus, and protect you against the severity of the disease.

How many doses do I need? When will the second dose be given?

It’s really important you have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure you have maximum immunity.

There is a window in which you can receive your second dose:
  • Pfizer (Comirnaty) should be administered 3–6 weeks from your first vaccination.
  • Moderna (Spikevax) should be administered 4 weeks from your first vaccination.
  • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) should be administered 12 weeks from your first vaccination.

However, if you do not receive your second dose within the above timeframes, there is no cause for panic or concern. You will still be afforded excellent protection against severe COVID-19 infection and you do not need to start the vaccination regimen again.

You should book your second dose as close to this window as possible. If you are having difficulty finding a booking within this window, contact the GP or clinic where you had your first dose or call 134 COVID (134 268) if you had your first vaccination at a Queensland Health vaccination location.

Completing your vaccine course is very important, even if your second dose is outside the recommended window.

Why do we need a vaccine if we can keep social distancing and wearing a face mask to prevent the spread?

The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect against severe COVID-19 disease. The measures we’ve put in place so far help to protect all Queenslanders and will continue to be important to control the spread and effect of the virus in the community.

We don’t want to live under restrictions forever and vaccination is a critical step in combating the virus and protecting people long-term from severe disease. Things like physical distancing, wearing a mask when appropriate, frequently washing your hands and staying home if you’re feeling sick will still have a role to play as we move through the pandemic.

Where can I get information about vaccines?

Information should only be taken from trusted sources, such as the Australian and Queensland Governments and the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.

Vaccine effectiveness

How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?

The results from the clinical trials to date have shown both the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) and Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccines to be very effective in providing protection against COVID-19.

The relative effectiveness of the COVID-19 Vaccines available in Australia is very high, with recent data from the UK showing the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine to be up to 90% effective, the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine up to 94% effective and AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine up to 89% effective with two doses.

If as many people as possible are immunised against COVID-19, regardless of which vaccine they have, this will go a long way in keeping everyone safe.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective on the new variants of the virus?

It is common for some viruses to naturally mutate over time. We have seen this with SARS-CoV-2 and now with COVID-19. Often these mutations don’t impact how viruses affect us, however some are more easily spread and appear to be associated with increased numbers of cases in some countries.

Current evidence from clinical trials indicates the COVID-19 vaccines are likely to provide protection to a variety of mutations and minor virus changes. However, in some cases, there may be an impact on how antibody developed from vaccines based on the original strain which may mean that the effectiveness of current vaccines against this particular strain could be affected. This information is still emerging and is being reviewed, often.

In the same way that the influenza vaccines changes each season, the technology used to create the COVID-19 vaccines may be able to be adapted to changes in variants.

Once I’ve had two doses of the vaccine, do I still need to follow social distancing advice and lockdowns?

Yes.

At this stage we are still assessing the effects of the vaccine at both the individual and population levels. As we gather more data from both here and overseas, we will adjust the public health response needed accordingly.

One dose will not be effective in giving adequate protection against COVID-19 in most people hence the need for the two doses.

Vaccine safety

How do I know the vaccine is safe?

Before a COVID-19 vaccine is used in Australia, it must be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA assesses the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccines before they are registered for use in Australia.

What does the vaccine approval process look like?

All vaccines go through trials and tests as they are developed and before they are approved for use. This includes being tested on thousands of volunteers before it is approved.

For the COVID-19 vaccines, no testing phase has been skipped. Instead, some of these phases have been combined, or run at the same time as each other. Having these ‘overlapping’ time frames has helped test COVID-19 vaccines quickly and help make them available to save lives earlier.

What are the trial phases?

Phase 1 clinical trials usually include a few dozen healthy adult volunteers and focus primarily on assessing safety, and also on demonstrating that the vaccine works.

Phase 2 clinical trials have hundreds of volunteers and can include sub-groups such as older adults, children or people with pre-existing medical conditions. These trials aim to show the vaccine prompts an effective immune response in different people and confirm that it is safe.

Phase 3 clinical trials include many thousands of participants and aim to show that a vaccine is effective in preventing people from the general population getting the disease. Phase 3 trials also thoroughly assess the vaccine for safety and side effects. This phase often also involves placebo groups comparing the response of people who receive a non-COVID-19 vaccine against the real product.

Are there side effects of having the vaccine?

Reactions to vaccines do happen. Most reactions are minor, temporary and are expected, such as a sore arm or headache. In very rare circumstances, we can see severe reactions such as anaphylaxis.

Common side effects are likely to occur in more than 1 in 10 people who receive a vaccine. If you experience one of the common side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccine that is actually a sign that the vaccine is doing what it was made to do.

Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system. So when you experience symptoms like headache or fever, after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, this is a sign that your immune system is being prepared and is being trained to recognise, and fight, against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read more about the possible side effects of the Pfizer (Comirnaty), Moderna (Spikevax) and AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccines.

Do the benefits of the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any risk?

Everyone needs to make their own decision about whether to have a COVID-19 vaccine, but do remember that if you are over 60 there is a 1 in 30 chance of dying from COVID-19 and for people aged 50 and over, the risks associated with COVID-19 are much higher than the risks associated with the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine.

Is the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine safe in people who have had blood clots in the past?

If you have had other types of blood clots in the past, or if you have risk factors for blood clots, you can still have the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine. There is no evidence that people who have had a past history of other types of blood clots have an increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome. The overall rate of blood clots has not risen in countries which have extensively used the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine with millions of doses administered.

Will the vaccine give me COVID-19?

No.

The vaccines do not contain the live virus itself. Each vaccine is designed so you won’t get the disease you are being protected against

Does the COVID-19 vaccine protect me immediately?

No. After you receive your first dose of the vaccine you should have some protection from COVID-19 after about 2 weeks. But you need to have a second dose to have lasting protection.

There is a window in which you can receive your second dose:
  • Pfizer (Comirnaty) should be administered 3–6 weeks from your first vaccination.
  • Moderna (Spikevax) should be administered 4 weeks from your first vaccination.
  • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) should be administered 12 weeks from your first vaccination.

While one dose may give some protection, it may only last for the short-term. It will take some time for your body to build an immune response, you may not be protected against COVID-19 until after your second dose.

However, if you do not receive your second dose within the above timeframes, there is no cause for panic or concern. You will still be afforded excellent protection against severe COVID-19 infection and you do not need to start the vaccination regimen again.

We will continue to learn over time about how long the protection will last.

Do I need to get both the influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine?

As always, all Queenslanders will be encouraged to have their flu vaccination in the lead up to flu season. As per advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) it is preferred the minimum interval between influenza vaccine and a dose of COVID-19 vaccine is 7 days.

There is no clinical evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccines react with any other vaccine.

How were these vaccines developed so quickly?

In response to the impacts of COVID-19 felt right around the world, unprecedented funding and collaboration occurred between regulators, governments, vaccine developers and scientists.

For COVID-19 vaccines, no testing phase has been skipped. Instead, some of these phases have been combined, or run at the same time as each other. Having these ‘overlapping’ time frames has helped develop COVID-19 vaccines quickly and help make them available earlier to save lives.

Who should get the vaccine (age, health status)?

Everyone who can get vaccinated, should.

At the current time, the use of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine is preferred over AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine in adults aged under 60 years who have not already received the first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine. This is based both on the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age (and thus increased benefit of vaccination) and the potentially lower, but not zero, risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome with increasing age.

AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine can be used in adults aged under 60 years where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual, and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.

People who have had their first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine without any serious adverse effects can be given their second dose. This includes adults under 60 years of age. People who have had blood clots associated with low platelet levels after their first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 Vaccine should not be given their second dose.

The Australian Government Department of Health will further develop and refine resources for informed consent that clearly convey the benefits and risks of the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine for both immunisation providers and consumers of all ages.

Who should not get the vaccine?

Currently, the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine is not approved for use on children under the age of 12 and the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) on children under the age of 18 years.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women?

RANZCOG and ATAGI have recommended that pregnant women receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of pregnancy

No safety concerns have been identified for women who received a Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy.

If you are breastfeeding you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at any time. You do not need to stop breastfeeding before or after vaccination.

If I've had COVID-19 and recovered, am I now immune and don’t need the vaccine?

No. All Queenslanders, regardless of whether they have had the disease already or not, are strongly encouraged to receive COVID-19 vaccination.

Will children receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Children aged 12 and over are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine is not approved for use on children under the age of 12 and the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) on children under the age of 18 years.

What happens if you have a reaction to the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you have had anaphylaxis (a type of severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of a COVID-19, or to one of its ingredients, you must not have that vaccine again. Your healthcare provider can help to determine whether it will be safe for you to have an alternative COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have a suspected allergic reaction which is not anaphylaxis after a COVID-19 vaccine, you may still be able to have the second dose of the vaccine, but in some cases precautions are needed such as a longer period of observation after vaccination or referral for allergy testing.

You can find out more about the ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines in the Consumer Medicine Information, which is available on the TGA website.

Is one vaccine safer than the other?

All COVID-19 vaccines which have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) offer strong levels of protection against COVID-19. Approved vaccines are safe and will protect older Queenslanders against COVID-19, especially against severe disease.

You should speak to your doctor before having the vaccine if you have any concerns.

Will the vaccine affect my fertility?

No. There is no evidence to suggest any vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines, have any effect on male or female fertility.

How is the COVID-19 vaccine given?

Like most vaccines, this will be injected into your upper arm muscle by a health professional who has been trained in giving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Following your vaccine, you will be asked to wait a minimum of 15 minutes to ensure you don’t have any reactions. We follow this procedure for all vaccines.

However, if you have a history of severe allergies we will monitor you closely for 30 minutes after their vaccination.

To get the full benefit of the vaccine you will need two injections, at least several weeks apart.

Allergies and other medical concerns

I have severe allergies, can I still get the vaccine?

Yes, you can still get the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine, but you are encouraged to have a prior discussion with your health provider, if you have any concerns.

The potential for an adverse event, such as an allergic reaction following vaccination for people with a history of severe allergies, is well known. This is why it is standard protocol to closely monitor anybody in this situation for 30 minutes after their vaccination.

I have asthma can I get vaccinated?

Yes. People who experience asthma can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

I have hay fever can I get vaccinated?

Yes. People who experience hay fever can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

What do I need to do if I have a bleeding disorder?

People with bleeding disorders and people who are receiving anticoagulant therapy need to tell their immunisation provider who can determine the appropriate injection method depending on your condition.

Should I take blood thinning medication before having the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine?

It is not recommended to take over-the-counter medicine before receiving a vaccination for the purpose of preventing potential side effects. You should continue to take prescribed medication unless advised by your medical practitioner.

About the different types of vaccines

What is the difference between the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine and the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine?

Different companies have produced vaccines using different techniques. However, both vaccines instruct our immune system to make antibodies to the spike protein of the virus. They are both effective and offer strong protection against COVID-19.

At the current time, the use of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine is preferred over AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine in adults aged under 60 years who have not already received the first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine. This is based both on the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age (and thus increased benefit of vaccination) and the potentially lower, but not zero, risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome with increasing age.

AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine can be used in adults aged under 60 years where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual, and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.

People who have had their first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 Vaccine without any serious adverse effects can be given their second dose. This includes adults under 60 years of age. People who have had blood clots associated with low platelet levels after their first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 Vaccine should not be given their second dose.

The Australian Government Department of Health will further develop and refine resources for informed consent that clearly convey the benefits and risks of the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine for both immunisation providers and consumers of all ages.

Is one vaccine more effective than the other?

The Pfizer (Comirnaty), Moderna (Spikevax) and AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccines all offer strong levels of protection against COVID-19.

Can I choose which vaccine I have?

#vaccine-exemption

The Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine is on offer for all people aged 12 and over, AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) is available to people 60 years and older, with some exceptions. People under the age of 60 who have had their first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine without any serious adverse effects can be given their second dose.

The most effective way to protect yourself from the effects of COVID-19 is to be vaccinated with the first vaccine you are offered. The AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine is highly effective at preventing death and severe illness among people who have contracted COVID-19—and the incidence of TTS is very rare. If you are over 60 there is a 1 in 30 chance of dying from COVID-19 and for people aged 50 and over, the risks associated with COVID-19 are much higher than the risks associated with the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine.

Do not delay, make an appointment at https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au.

Currently there are few medical reasons for a patient to require access to a Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine, including from patients with a history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, splanchnic vein thrombosis or heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis.

If it is medically recommended you receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine please ask your GP or treating doctor to complete the Recommendation to receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine form and bring it with you to your clinic appointment.

Vaccine rollout

Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccination remains the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones against the impacts of COVID-19, including serious illness or death from the virus.

Current evidence shows that people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine have a much lower chance of developing more serious symptoms from COVID-19. This is compared to those who did not get the vaccine.

When can I get vaccinated?

People aged 12 and over can make an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at an approved GP, GP-led respiratory clinic or Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Service.

All eligible people can register for the COVID-19 vaccine at a Queensland Health vaccination location and will be contacted by Queensland Health when an appointment becomes available in your local area.

Do I need to bring any documentation to my COVID-19 vaccination appointment?

Yes.

There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for your vaccination such as:

  • Wear a short sleeve shirt
  • Bringing your booking confirmation if you have one
  • Photo identification or employee identification if applicable
  • Medicare card
  • Information about any medical conditions you have or medications you are taking

Any vaccines you’ve had in the past 14 days or any previous COVID-19 vaccines you may have been given including the brand and date it was given to you

Can I have my child with me at my vaccination appointment?

In the interest of all patients and their safety, it is best to arrange someone to look after your child/ren when you go to your vaccination appointment at a Queensland Health vaccination location. You are required to wait for 15-30 minutes, after your vaccination, in a communal clinical observation area which is different to a waiting room.

What if I don't have a Medicare card, can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine for free?

Yes. The vaccine is free for all Australian citizens, permanent residents and most visa-holders.

You will need to receive your vaccine at a general practitioner-led respiratory clinic known as a GPRC.

  1. Complete the online eligibility checker.
  2. Make an appointment at a GPRC in your area.

If you need an interpreter, just tell us when you make your vaccination appointment. This service is free.

Can I have an interpreter with me at my vaccination appointment?

If you would like access to an interpreter at your vaccination appointment, ask you healthcare provider to arrange this for you.

Are First Nations people a priority for vaccination?

Yes.

First Nations people over the age of 12 are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Queensland Health is working very closely with the Australian Government to ensure practical and sensible vaccination strategies are implemented in rural and remote communities. This means that for some rural and remote communities, a whole of communication vaccination approach will be taken instead of vaccinating only those who are eligible according to the phases outlined in the National vaccination rollout strategy.

There will be many vaccination locations across Queensland where you can get the vaccine, and many will be in rural and remote locations. The vaccines will be available at your local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service, GP-led respiratory clinics, GPs, state and territory health services and pharmacies.

Read more information for First Nations people.

Why isn't my chronic medical condition included?

The underlying medical conditions listed under the 1b priority list are recommended by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. They include those who are most likely to get very sick from a COVID-19 infection.

If I live in a rural area, when and how will I get the vaccine?

People living in Queensland’s rural and remote regions will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest possible opportunity.

We will be working collaboratively with the Australian Government to ensure an effective and efficient vaccination rollout for our rural and remote communities.

Your local Hospital and Health Service is working on outreach options and mobile vaccination facilities among other alternatives to cater for individual communities.

What if I do not want to get the vaccine?

We are asking all Queenslanders to get vaccinated.

The vaccine is our best chance at reducing the seriousness of COVID-19 in individuals and potentially controlling the spread in community.

I have a phobia to needles, what should I do?

Like all vaccines, our vaccination providers are well trained at ensuring those with a needle phobia are treated compassionately and sensitively while they are receiving their vaccine.

Can I mix the vaccine doses?

No.

You will require two doses of the same vaccine to be properly vaccinated because they deliver instructions to the immune response in different ways.

The safety and efficacy of mixing products has not yet been fully evaluated and there is currently no evidence to support alternating brands of COVID-19 vaccine.

People who have already had their first dose of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine without any serious adverse effects are strongly encouraged to have their second dose. This includes adults under 60 years of age.

Do I still need to get the vaccine even if most people are already getting vaccinated?

Yes.

We reach ‘herd immunity’ when enough people are immunised to stop or slow the spread of the disease. This reduces the likelihood of infection, which protects people who can’t be vaccinated.

Experts anticipate a herd immunity of 65% or higher will be needed for COVID-19.

I usually go to my local GP for my vaccinations, can I get the COVID-19 vaccine there?

Anyone who wishes to be vaccinated by their local GP, when they are eligible, can do so.

Complete the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker to find your nearest participating GP or Pharmacy.

Will the vaccination be available through the school immunisation program?

Given the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine has only recently been approved for children as young as 12, we are still working through the rollout for this age group. We will work with the Federal Government to determine appropriate mechanisms and protocols to vaccinate this age group.

Can I get the vaccine anywhere in Australia, for example when I'm on a holiday?

Yes. If you are eligible to receive the vaccine, you can make an appointment with any approved GP within Australia.

What if I am interstate when I am due to receive my second vaccine?

If you are interstate and require your second dose of the vaccine, you can make an appointment with an approved GP within Australia.

What if I am from overseas and due to receive my second vaccine in Australia?

If you have returned to Australia from overseas and have received a first dose of either the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine, then you can receive your second dose regardless of priority eligibility.

This ensures the timely completion of the vaccine schedule with a second dose of the same vaccine.

Your second dose will need to be coordinated as below:

  • Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine—at state/territory clinics and some GP clinics
  • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine— at a GP, GP-led respiratory clinic or Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Service

At this stage there is no advice available for those who have received an initial dose of a vaccine not available in Australia.

Will you have to be vaccinated to travel? Who makes this decision?

While there is no mandatory vaccine in Australia, it’s possible that in future, vaccination against COVID-19 might become a requirement for travel to certain destinations or for people working in certain high-risk workplaces. If this becomes the case, there will be exemptions in place for people who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Will the person administering the vaccination be vaccinated as well?

Those who are most at risk of exposure to COVID-19 will be prioritised to receive the vaccine. This group includes vaccination providers.

What are the rules around PPE at COVID-19 vaccination hubs and clinics?

In consultation with clinical stakeholders, the Queensland Government has set guidelines for PPE during the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

The amount of PPE required by staff to wear varies depending on the risk of COVID-19–low, moderate and high.

When there is a high number of COVID-19 cases and community transmission, PPE gear such as surgical masks and protective eyewear must be worn by staff administrating the vaccine. Those receiving the vaccine and staff not in direct contact with the vaccine recipient are required to wear surgical masks.

This applies to moderate COVID-19 cases as well.

For low risk COVID-19 cases there is no requirement to wear PPE.

What proof will I be provided that I have received the vaccine?

After you have been fully vaccinated, you can get a copy of your Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). You can access this information through the myGov website using your Medicare online account, the Medicare Express Plus app, or My Health Record; or by calling 1800 653 809.

Healthcare providers can also print immunisation history statements on behalf of their patient.

If there is an issue with your vaccination record in AIR please contact the GP clinic where you received your vaccine or call 134 COVID (134 268) if you were vaccinated at Queensland Health vaccination location.

Can I get a vaccination certificate if I’ve received mixed doses?

You may have received mixed COVID-19 vaccine doses—also called a ‘mixed vaccination schedule’—because of a specific medical contraindication, as a precaution, or because the same vaccine brand isn’t available in Australia.

If this is the case, you should be able to access a COVID-19 digital certificate by mid-September. You’ll be sent a MyGov notification when your certificate becomes available.

In the meantime, you can use your Immunisation History Statement (IHS) as proof of vaccination. The IHS displays all vaccinations, including COVID-19 ones. You can access this information through the myGov website using your Medicare online account, the Medicare Express Plus app, or My Health Record; or by calling 1800 653 809.

Can I be anaesthetised to have the vaccine?

No.

Can I have a support person with me when I receive the vaccine?

Yes. Those who require additional support are welcome to bring their support person.

Do immunodeficiency or autoimmune treatments need to be stopped to have a COVID-19 vaccine?

It is important that regular treatments for immunodeficiencies and autoimmune conditions are continued, because stopping these treatments can place people with these conditions at greater risk from COVID-19.

Vaccination should occur on a different day (if possible) from regular infusion treatments, such as immunoglobulin (Ig) or immunosuppressant infusions. Speak to your treating clinician about the best timing for your vaccination.

What if I am unable to leave my home to receive the vaccine?

If you are unable to leave your home to receive the vaccine, contact your health provider and ask if they can arrange an in-home vaccination visit for you.

Does priority access to the vaccine also mean that it is being trialled on me?

No.

The approved COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and effective by the Therapeutic Goods Administration using the same policies and procedures as all current vaccines.

I never get the flu shot, why do I need this vaccine?

We are asking all Queenslanders who can be vaccinated, to be. Vaccination remains the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones against the impacts of COVID-19, including serious illness or death from the virus.

Can I leave quarantine to have my vaccination?

No. You cannot leave quarantine to have your COVID-19 vaccination.

You should schedule your vaccination appointment for after the completion of your mandatory quarantine.

COVID-19 and Influenza (flu) vaccines

Is it still important to be vaccinated against influenza (flu)?

Yes. Flu is serious. Each year thousands of people are hospitalised with complications from the flu. The best way to avoid getting ill is to make sure you are vaccinated against the current strains of flu (they can change year by year). Your flu vaccination is important and it is recommended you speak to your health care provider about scheduling an appointment to get vaccinated.

Can I get the flu vaccine (or any other vaccine) on the same day as a COVID-19 vaccine?

No. It is not recommended that you receive a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day as any other vaccine, including an inactivated influenza vaccine. If you receive a flu vaccination, you must wait 7 days before you can receive your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. As per advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) it is preferred the minimum interval between influenza vaccine and a dose of COVID-19 vaccine is 7 days.

If I have a choice between getting the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine, which one should I have first?

The COVID-19 vaccines require 2 doses and influenza is a single dose. It doesn’t matter which order you get the vaccines but if you are offered a COVID-19 vaccination get that one first, particularly if you are in an older age group (over 65), work in an area where you are potentially exposed to COVID-19 or you have a medical condition or are taking certain medications which make you more vulnerable.

Will the influenza vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

No. Whilst an influenza vaccine will not prevent COVID-19 infection, it can reduce the severity and spread of influenza, which may make you more susceptible to other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.

Do I really need an influenza vaccine this year, doesn’t the COVID-19 vaccination protect me against influenza as well?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine won’t protect you against influenza. The COVID-19 vaccine is designed to protect you against COVID-19, not influenza (and vice versa).

You need to have your flu vaccine every year to make sure you are fully protected against the current strains of flu circulating in the community.

If you are unlucky enough to catch COVID-19 and influenza around the same time, it is likely you will become quite ill. By getting vaccinated against both influenza and COVID-19, you are giving yourself the best protection against both illnesses.

Do I have to wait until I've completed the 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine required before I receive my influenza vaccination?

No. You can have the flu vaccine in between having the two COVID-19 vaccines as long as there are 7 days between the dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine and vice versa.

I need to undertake essential travel. How can I get vaccinated?

You are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination if you have been granted an Australian Border Force (ABF) travel exemption where your exemption letter states that you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination.

You are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination until the expiry date of your exemption.

If you are aged under 60 years, you can use your travel exemption notification stating you are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination as evidence of your eligibility for vaccination.

Applications for travel exemptions are submitted through the ABF’s Travel Exemption Portal

Making a booking at Queensland Health vaccination location

How can I book an appointment at a Queensland Health vaccination location?

Check your eligibility and make a booking via the Vaccine Eligibility Checker. If eligible, you will be directed to register online for an appointment at a Queensland Health vaccination location. For further information contact 134 COVID (134 268).

My GP does not offer COVID-19 vaccines, where can I get one?

Find your nearest approved GP via the Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

I am over 60 years of age. Can I request Pfizer (Comirnaty)?

From Saturday 18 September people aged over 60 years can register to receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine at any Queensland Health vaccination location.

The most effective way for people aged 60 years and over to protect themselves from the effects of COVID-19 is to be vaccinated. The AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine is highly effective at preventing death and severe illness among people who have contracted COVID-19—and the incidence of TTS is very rare. If you are over 60 there is a 1 in 30 chance of dying from COVID-19 and for people aged 50 and over, the risks associated with COVID-19 are much higher than the risks associated with the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine.

Who can I contact if I need help to book, change or cancel an appointment?

If you’ve already booked an appointment through the Queensland Health booking system, you can make changes to your appointment online. If you need assistance with this, or to speak to someone in your language, call 134 COVID (134 268) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Can someone book an appointment on my behalf?

Yes. This can be done via the Vaccine Eligibility Checker or the person assisting you can call 134 COVID (134 268) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Will the first and second appointments be booked at the same time?

Only one appointment can be made for your first dose at the moment. When you attend your appointment for your first dose you can make your booking for your second dose while you are there.

There is a window in which you can receive your second dose:
  • Pfizer (Comirnaty) should be administered 3–6 weeks from your first vaccination.
  • Moderna (Spikevax) should be administered 4–6 weeks from your first vaccination.
  • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) should be administered 12 weeks from your first vaccination.

However, if you do not receive your second dose within the above timeframes, there is no cause for panic or concern. You will still be afforded excellent protection against severe COVID-19 infection and you do not need to start the vaccination regimen again.

You should book your second dose as close to this window as possible. If you are having difficulty finding a booking within this window, contact the GP or clinic where you had your first dose or call 134 COVID (134 268) if you had your first vaccination at a Queensland Health vaccination location.

Completing your vaccine course is very important, even if your second dose is outside the recommended window.

How can I have an interpreter at my appointment?

When you arrive at your vaccination location, let a staff member know that you need an interpreter. They can arrange this for you.

If I am eligible, do I need to make an appointment, or can I just turn up at a Queensland Health vaccination location?

Walk-ins are welcome, however people with a booking will be given priority. To see which vaccination locations offer walk-ins visit the Queensland Health vaccination locations page.

How long does it take for my vaccination appointment?

When coming for your vaccination appointment, it is a good idea to allow around 45 minutes for your appointment. This allows time for your patient screening, the actual vaccination and observation time after the injection.

If I feel unwell on the day of my appointment, what should I do?

Please do not attend your appointment. You can make changes to your appointment online. Alternatively, you can reschedule on or before your appointment date by phoning 134 COVID (134 268) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, get tested and stay home until you get the results and your symptoms resolve.

Can I leave quarantine or lockdown to have my COVID-19 vaccination?

If you are booked in for your first or second dose vaccination and one of the following applies, you will need to reschedule your appointment through the vaccination booking system or by calling 134 COVID (134 268). If you miss your second dose date, you will be re-booked for a date as close as possible.

  • You are in home quarantine (from being at an exposure site/close contact) or hotel quarantine
  • You are unwell, even if you have retuned a negative COVID-19 test
  • You are in isolation waiting for your COVID-19 test result

If you have a vaccination booking during lockdown and you are well and not in quarantine, please attend your appointment and wear a mask.

Cost

How much does the vaccine cost?

The vaccine is free of charge to all Australians. Vaccination providers cannot charge you for the COVID-19 vaccine or for your appointments to receive the vaccine.

If your vaccination provider charges for any costs associated with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination (including booking fees), you should:

Privacy and personal information

Who gets my personal details for the COVID vaccine and how will this information be used?

Queensland Health will use your personal details for the purposes of program safety and disease surveillance. Your personal details will also be provided to the Australian Immunisation Register, as required by Australian Government law.

Questions about booking an appointment

How can I book an appointment at a Queensland Health vaccination location as my GP does not provide the recommended vaccine for my age group?

Eligible people, can register online for an appointment at a Queensland Health vaccination location. For further information contact 134 COVID (134 268).

My GP does not offer COVID-19 vaccines? Where can I get one?

Find your nearest vaccine clinic via the Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

Who can I contact if I need help to book, change or cancel an appointment?

If you’ve already booked an appointment through the Queensland Health vaccine booking system, you can make changes to your appointment through the same booking system. If you need assistance with this, or to speak to someone in your language, 134 COVID (134 268) is available any day of the week, at any time.

Can someone book an appointment on my behalf?

Yes. This can be done via the Vaccine Eligibility Checker or the person assisting you can call 134 COVID (134 268) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you would like to book an appointment at a Queensland Health vaccination location on behalf of a dependent person, you can do this by following the steps in the guide Booking on behalf of someone else.  This guide will help you to register and book for a person legally considered a dependant person through the Booking Portal. If you would like help with making a booking on behalf of a dependant person, please contact 134 COVID (134 268).

I’m aged 12–17 years of age. Can I register for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, all people aged 12 and over are now eligible. You can find your nearest clinic using the vaccine eligibility checker.

To receive your vaccine at a Queensland Health vaccination location you will need to register online. If you have your own email address (or an email address that has not been used in the vaccine booking system) you can register your interest online. Otherwise, your parent or primary carer will need to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for you using the User guide — Book on behalf of someone else (PDF). They will need to log in with an existing account or use an unique email address that has not been used to register for the COVID-19 vaccine before.

The system does not currently support the use of shared email addresses. You can create an email account using free online services like GmailOutlook or Yahoo.

Will the first and second appointments be booked at the same time?

When you have received your first dose, an appointment for your second dose will be made for you. You will receive an email with the second appointment details within the next five to seven days. This email will have instructions on how to change this booking, if is not convenient for you.

There is a window in which you can receive your second dose:
  • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine should be administered as close to 3–6 weeks from your first vaccination.
  • AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should be administered as close as possible to 12 weeks for the best protection. Please note that while the Delta strain of COVID-19 is circulating in our community, you are encouraged to get your second dose of AstraZeneca as early as 8 weeks from your first vaccination.

However, if you do not receive your second dose within the above timeframes, there is no cause for panic or concern. You will still be afforded excellent protection against severe COVID-19 infection and you do not need to start the vaccination regimen again.

Completing your vaccine course is very important, even if your second dose is outside the recommended window.

You should not attend a COVID-19 vaccination appointment if you:

  • are unwell with fever, cough, runny nose or other symptoms that could be from COVID-19
  • are awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • have tested positive with COVID-19 and you are in isolation
  • are in quarantine
  • are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

If you fall into any of the above categories, you will need to reschedule your vaccination appointment online via https://www.vaccinebookings.health.qld.gov.au. If you need help with rescheduling your appointment call 134 COVID (134 268).

If you had another vaccine in the 7 days before your COVID-19 vaccine appointment, tell your vaccine provider. They may ask you to reschedule your appointment.

I had my first dose at a GP, can I have my second dose at a QLD Health clinic?

Queenslanders who received their first dose at a GP should return to their GP to finalise their immunisation. Second dose appointments should be booked before leaving your first dose appointment.

How can I have an interpreter at my appointment?

When you arrive at your vaccination location, let a staff member know that you need an interpreter. They can arrange this for you, and it's free.

If I am eligible, do I need to make an appointment, or can I just turn up at a Queensland Health vaccination location?

Registering your interest for a COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to secure an appointment at a Queensland Health vaccination location.

Walk-ins are welcome, however people with a booking will be given priority. To see which vaccination locations offer walk-ins visit the Queensland Health vaccination locations page.

How long does a vaccination appointment take?

When coming for your vaccination appointment, allow around 45 minutes for your appointment. This allows time for your patient screening, the actual vaccination and observation time after the injection.

Will I be able to a make a long appointment or family booking?

As supply increases and more appointments become available, we will look to provide options for appointments to be booked together such as to vaccinate a family or household together.

Do I need to bring anything to my COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

Yes. There are a few things you should bring with you on the day of your vaccine.

  • Booking confirmation (printed or on your phone)
  • Photo identification or employee identification, if applicable
  • Medicare card, if you have one
  • Information about any medical conditions you have or medications you are taking
  • Any vaccines you have had in the past 14 days or any previous COVID-19 vaccines you may have had.

We also suggest you wear a short sleeve shirt.

Do authorised substitute decision makers such as primary carers need to bring anything to their dependent person’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

Yes. Primary carers need to bring any official documentation that proves their authority as a substitute decision maker and shows their relationship to their dependent person. Examples of official documentation include:

  • Advanced Health Directive
  • Enduring Power of Attorney
  • Primary carer’s photo identification or employee identification.

If I feel unwell on the day of my appointment, what should I do?

Please do not attend your appointment. You can make changes to your appointment online. Alternatively, you can reschedule on or before your appointment date by phoning 134 COVID (134 268) any day of the week, at any time. Someone else can also reschedule the appointment on your behalf.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, get tested and stay home until you get the results and your symptoms resolve.

Can I leave quarantine or lockdown to have my COVID-19 vaccination?

If you are booked in for your first or second dose vaccination and one of the following applies, you will need to reschedule your appointment through the vaccination booking system or by calling 134 COVID (134 268). If you miss your second dose date, you will be re-booked for a date as close as possible.

  • You are in home quarantine (from being at an exposure site/close contact) or hotel quarantine
  • You are unwell, even if you have retuned a negative COVID-19 test
  • You are in isolation waiting for your COVID-19 test result

If you have a vaccination booking during lockdown and you are well and not in quarantine or isolation, please attend your appointment and wear a mask.

What if I am under the age of 60 and have already had my first AstraZeneca vaccination?

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) advises that your second dose of vaccine must match your first dose of vaccine.

If you are under the age of 60 and have already received your first dose of AstraZeneca with no severe adverse events, you should continue to receive your second AstraZeneca dose. To get the full benefit of the vaccine, you need two doses of the same vaccine.

The risk of Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) following a second dose of AstraZeneca is much lower than the risk following a first dose.

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine still safe for people aged 60 years and over?

Yes. ATAGI continues to recommend the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 60 years and over. People aged 60 and over are much more likely to become very sick if they contract COVID-19.