Queensland COVID-19 vaccination information resource

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 three 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.

All approved 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?

All people aged 12 and over can receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) 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 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 7 days to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Make sure you book your appointments with enough time between them.

Changing vaccine brands in between doses

ATAGI recommends the two-dose COVID-19 Vaccine course should be completed with the same vaccine. It is currently not recommended or advised for vaccine brands to be changed between doses. There may be very specific medical reasons for changing brands if you develop anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction after the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or if you develop the very rare thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS) after the first dose of the AstraZeneca Vaccine.

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.

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

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  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 7 days
    • Information about any previous COVID-19 vaccine you may have been given (the brand and date it was given to you)
    • If attending as a primary carer, documentation to prove your relationship to the dependent person such as an Advanced Health Directive, Enduring Power of Attorney or Primary carer’s photo identification or employee identification.
    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)
    • Have any respiratory symptoms
    • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine
    • Have received any vaccine in the last 7 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 7 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.

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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 vaccination

You may experience some side effects following vaccination. Most side effects last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems. Read more about side effects.

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 your symptoms 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 COVID-19 vaccines do 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

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 appointment 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.

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. If you don’t have Medicare, you can still set up an AIR record 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 the Australian Government Department of Health and Queensland Government websites.

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 read our privacy information and privacy contacts