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Queensland COVID-19 vaccination information resource

Coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause serious ongoing health issues, and sometimes death. It is still a new virus and as such we are still learning more about it.

Based on what we know, some people are at greater risk of getting very sick if they contract COVID-19.

High risk of severe illness

You are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you:

  • are 70 years of age or over
  • have had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy
  • have had a bone marrow transplant in the last 24 months
  • are on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • have blood cancer e.g. leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome (diagnosed within the last 5 years)
  • are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Moderate risk of severe illness

You are at moderate risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you have:

  • chronic renal (kidney) failure
  • heart disease (coronary heart disease or failure)
  • chronic lung disease (excludes mild or moderate asthma)
  • a non-haematological cancer (diagnosed in the last 12 months)
  • diabetes
  • severe obesity with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2
  • chronic liver disease
  • some neurological conditions (stroke, dementia, other) (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • some chronic inflammatory conditions and treatments (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • other primary or acquired immunodeficiency (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • poorly controlled blood pressure (may increase risk – speak to your doctor).

COVID-19 vaccination

Having a COVID-19 vaccine is an important step to take to reduce the serious effects of COVID-19 in people who become infected with the virus. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain live COVID-19 virus which means the vaccine cannot infect you with the COVID-19 virus.

Even though the COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be very effective there is still a chance you may get COVID-19. No vaccine is 100 per cent effective.

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

Queensland will have two COVID-19 vaccines available, which have been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use:

Find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine ingredients.

The vaccines have been made differently but both offer strong levels of protection against COVID-19. The vaccines are designed to trigger your immune system to make antibodies to the spike protein of the virus. This means if you were to ever get the COVID-19 virus, your body is better prepared to fight the illness.

Both vaccines have been through rigorous testing, by the TGA, to ensure they meet the highest safety and effectiveness standards.

It is important to remember that even after vaccination, you should wash your hands regularly and maintain physical distance to help protect yourself.

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.

You must remain in the vaccination clinic for observation for at least 15 minutes after vaccination. Depending on your medical history, you may be asked to wait in the clinic for 30 minutes.

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

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is suitable for people aged 16 years and older and the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is suitable for people aged 18 years and older.

Who should not get the 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 14 days to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Make sure you book your appointments with enough time between them.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women

At this stage, COVID-19 vaccines are not routinely recommended to be given during pregnancy as there is limited experience with the use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women. As we learn more about the vaccines, this advice may change.

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 you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before you receive this vaccine.

Precautions for vaccination

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

How to prepare for your vaccination appointment

  1. The vaccine will be given as an injection, into your upper arm muscle. If possible, wear a short sleeve shirt to make it easier.
  2. You must bring the following to your COVID-19 vaccination appointment:
    • Photo ID
    • Your Medicare card, if you have one
    • Employee ID
    • Information about any of your medical conditions
    • Information about any medications you are taking
    • Information about any vaccine you have had in the past 14 days
    • Information about any previous COVID-19 vaccine you may have been given (the brand and date it was given to you).

    If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine before your appointment, contact 134 COVID (13 42 68) for 24/7 advice.

  3. When you get to your appointment you must let your immunisation provider know if you:
    • Have any severe allergies, particularly anaphylaxis (to anything), or carry or have been prescribed an adrenaline autoinjector (e.g. EpiPen™).
    • Had a reaction to a vaccine in the past or ingredients of vaccines
    • Have any bleeding issues or are receiving anticoagulant therapy (a blood thinner)
    • Are pregnant
    • Are breastfeeding
    • Have any respiratory symptoms
    • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine
    • Have received any vaccine in the last 14 days
  4. You must remain in the vaccination clinic for observation for at least 15 minutes after vaccination in case an allergic reaction occurs. If you have a history of severe allergy you will be asked to wait in the clinic for 30 minutes.

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 appointment for vaccination. If you need assistance with rescheduling your appointment call 134 COVID (13 42 68).

COVID-19 vaccines are not effective at treating COVID-19. If you have had another vaccine in the 14 days before your COVID-19 vaccine appointment, tell your immunisation provider. Your immunisation provider may ask you to reschedule your appointment. You are not required to test for COVID-19 before vaccination if you do not have a fever or any respiratory symptoms.

Where can I get more information or ask questions?

Call 134 COVID (13 42 68) 24 hours, 7 days a week for:

  • information on the vaccine
  • assistance with vaccination bookings or appointment enquiries
  • for help understanding this information or to ask for an interpreter – it is free.

If you experience COVID-19 symptoms after being fully vaccinated, please get tested. If you experience COVID-19 symptoms between your doses and are not sure what to do, call your doctor or nearest testing clinic.

What to expect after your Pfizer vaccination

The Pfizer vaccine is suitable for people aged 16 years and older.

You will need two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, at least 21 days apart.

While one dose will 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 will have maximum protection against COVID-19 after a second dose. We will continue to learn over time about how long the protection will last.

All medicines and vaccines can cause side effects and most of these are minor effects. However, if you do experience any side effects following vaccination and are worried, contact your GP.

Common side effects after having the Pfizer vaccine include:

  • pain or swelling at the injection site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever
  • joint pain.

Less common side effects after having the Pfizer vaccine include:

  • redness at the injection site
  • nausea
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • feeling unwell
  • pain in the limb
  • insomnia
  • itching at the injection site.

These side effects are usually mild and usually go away within one or two days. If you experience pain at the injection site or fever, headaches or body aches after vaccination, you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen. These help reduce the above symptoms (you do not need to take paracetamol or ibuprofen before vaccination). If there is swelling at the injection site, you can use a cold compress.

Rare side effects that have been reported after having the Pfizer vaccine are:

  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • Temporary one-sided facial drooping (also called Bell’s palsy).

If this occurs, you will be treated and monitored by health professionals or an ambulance will be called.

If after you have left the vaccination location, seek medical attention if:

  • You think you are having an allergic reaction. Call 000 if you experience severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, a fast heartbeat or collapsing.
  • You are worried about a potential side effect or have new or unexpected symptoms.
  • You have an expected side effect of the vaccine which has not gone away after a few days.

For symptoms which are not urgent, you can see your regular healthcare provider (usually your GP).

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.

COVID-19 testing after vaccination

Some side effects from COVID-19 vaccination might be similar to symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever). The Pfizer vaccine does not contain any live virus and cannot cause COVID-19. You do not need to get a COVID-19 test or isolate if you:

  • develop general symptoms like a fever, headache or tiredness in the first two days after vaccination
  • do not have any respiratory symptoms like a runny nose, cough, sore throat, loss of smell or loss of taste.

What to expect after your AstraZeneca vaccination

The AstraZeneca vaccine is suitable for people aged 18 years and older.

You will need two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, at least 28 days apart, but most likely 12 weeks apart.

While one dose will 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 will have maximum protection against COVID-19 after a second dose. We will continue to learn over time about how long the protection will last.

All medicines and vaccines can cause side effects and most of these are minor effects. However, if you do experience any side effects following vaccination and are worried, contact your GP.

Common side effects after having the AstraZeneca vaccine include:

  • tenderness, pain, warmth or itching, where the injection is given
  • generally feeling unwell
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • chills or feeling feverish
  • joint pain or muscle pain
  • feeling sick (nausea).

Less common side effects after having the AstraZeneca vaccine include:

  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • pain in limb
  • dizziness
  • decreased appetite
  • stomach pain.

These side effects are usually mild and usually go away within one or two days. If you experience pain at the injection site or fever, headaches or body aches after vaccination, you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen. These help reduce the above symptoms (you do not need to take paracetamol or ibuprofen before vaccination). If there is swelling at the injection site, you can use a cold compress.

Rare side effects that have been reported after the AstraZeneca vaccine are:

  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

If this occurs, you will be treated and monitored by health professionals or an ambulance will be called.

If after you have left the vaccination location, seek medical attention if:

  • You think you are having an allergic reaction. Call 000 if you experience severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, a fast heartbeat or collapsing.
  • You are worried about a potential side effect or have new or unexpected symptoms.
  • You have an expected side effect of the vaccine which has not gone away after a few days.

For symptoms which are not urgent, you can see your regular healthcare provider (usually your GP).

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 here.

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.

COVID-19 testing after vaccination

Some side effects from COVID-19 vaccination might be similar to symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever). The Pfizer vaccine does not contain any live virus and cannot cause COVID-19. You do not need to get a COVID-19 test or isolate if you:

  • develop general symptoms like a fever, headache or tiredness in the first two days after vaccination
  • do not have any respiratory symptoms like a runny nose, cough, sore throat, loss of smell or loss of taste.

Remember your second appointment

It is important that you receive two doses of the vaccine, several weeks apart. Maximum protection against COVID-19 will not occur until at least a week after your second dose.

Proof of vaccination

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 or by calling 1800 653 809.

Where can I get more information or ask questions?

Call 134 COVID (13 42 68) 24 hours, 7 days a week for:

  • information on the vaccine
  • assistance with vaccination bookings or appointment enquiries
  • help understanding this information or to ask for an interpreter – it is free.

Stay informed at www.health.gov.au and www.qld.gov.au/covid19vaccine

Privacy notice

Personal information collected by Queensland Health and the Hospital and Health Services (collectively ‘Queensland Health’) is handled in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009.

Queensland Health is collecting your personal information including your name, address, phone number, email address, age, gender, Indigenous status, vaccine details and Medicare number in accordance with Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015 in order to manage recall, reminders, clinical follow up; or control and enhanced safety monitoring of vaccines. This information will be given to the Australian Immunisation Register for the purpose of maintaining information about vaccinations of individuals.

Your personal information will also be used to administer the Queensland Health COVID-19 immunisation program (‘Program’). Your relevant medical information including existence of any medical conditions, allergies, or severe reactions following any vaccine will be collected for the assessment of whether and which vaccine you should be administered.

If you choose not to provide the information it may affect Queensland Health’s ability to respond and deliver services to you, including administering the COVID-19 vaccine to you.

All personal information will be securely stored and only accessible by appropriately authorised officers within the Queensland Health.

Your de-identified data (information that will not identify you) will be shared with Commonwealth Government and national immunisation safety, monitoring and surveillance organisations for the purpose of monitoring adverse events following immunisation and evaluating disease prevention and control (immunisation) efforts.

Your personal information will not be disclosed to other third parties without consent, unless the disclosure is authorised or required by or under law.

For information about how Queensland Health protects your personal information, or to learn about your right to access your own personal information, please see our website at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/global/privacy and https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/contact-us/access-info/privacy-contacts

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