Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against infectious diseases—when you get vaccinated, your immune system is trained to recognise and fight against specific viruses like coronavirus.
Not only are you protecting yourself when you get vaccinated, but you’re also helping protect the whole community, which is why it’s important to understand when and where you can get vaccinated in Australia against COVID-19.
To make it easy for you, we’ve put all the information from the Australian Government’s Department Of Health regarding the COVID vaccine in Australia in this article—whether or not you’re eligible for the vaccine, as well as when and where you can get it.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in Australia.
When Can I Get A COVID-19 Vaccination?
According to the Australian Government's Department of Health, the following people are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine:
- All adults aged 40-49
- All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 to 49
- NDIS participants aged 16 years and over, and unpaid and informal carers of NDIS participants of any age
- Temporary visa holders aged under 50 years who are currently in Australia and have been approved for return travel to Australia through the travel exemption process
- Adults aged 18-39 can choose to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
This is in addition to the following people, who were already eligible for vaccination:
- All adults aged 50 and over
- Quarantine and border workers
- Health care workers
- Aged care and disability care residents and staff
- People aged 16 and over with an underlying medical condition or significant disability
- Critical and high risk workers aged 16 and over including defence, police, fire, emergency services and meat processing.
- Individuals with an Australian Border Force outwards travel exemption in an eligible category
You can also check your eligibility with the Vaccine Eligibility Checker here.
Where Can I Get A COVID-19 Vaccination?
COVID-19 vaccines will be free for everyone living in Australia, which means you won’t need a prescription from a GP to get vaccinated. You can also still get a COVID-19 vaccine if you don’t have a Medicare card or are not eligible for Medicare. However, you should always discuss any existing medical conditions with your doctor or pharmacist before you get any vaccine.
Here’s how you can find out where you can get a COVID-19 vaccination near you:
Go to the Vaccine Eligibility Checker and click Check my eligibility.
Go through the questionnaire and enter all the relevant information.
Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, if you are eligible to book, you’ll be able to view and select clinic locations based on the location you enter. If you're not eligible, you will be instructed to try and book at another time.
Which COVID-19 Vaccination Will I Receive?
The number of Pfizer sites across the country will increase as more doses arrive in Australia. Because the Pfizer vaccine is a little harder to transport, store and deliver, right now it is only provided to eligible adults under the age of 60 through Commonwealth and state and territory clinics. For people under 40, only those in priority groups are currently eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
Make sure to check your eligibility to receive the Pfizer vaccine with the Vaccine Eligibility Checker here.
What's In The Pfizer Vaccine?
Most Australians can safely receive the Pfizer vaccine. You should talk to your doctor before being vaccinated if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, if you are taking any other medicines or if you have recently received any other vaccine.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is available at Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics, participating general practices, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, and state-run vaccination clinics. The AstraZeneca vaccine is currently being prioritised for people aged 60 years and over, due to its potential risks in people under 60.
Make sure to check your eligibility to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine with the Vaccine Eligibility Checker here.
What's In The AstraZeneca Vaccine?
There seems to be an increased risk of Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) following the AstraZeneca vaccine in people under 60 years—thrombosis means blood clots, and thrombocytopenia means low platelet levels. TTS can cause serious long-term disability or death if not recognised and treated quickly, but the chances of developing TTS after the AstraZeneca vaccine may occur in around 4-6 people in every million after being vaccinated. You can get all the details around the AstraZeneca risks here.
If you're aged 18-59 years, you can choose to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine:
- following an appropriate assessment of suitability by a qualified health professional; and
- if you provide verbal or written consent.
Where Can I Get In-Person Help To Book A Vaccination Appointment?
The Australian Government has information kiosks in different locations to help people book their vaccination appointment if they are eligible. From 19 July to 25 July they will be at the following locations:
Westfield Garden City, Upper Mount Gravatt, near Australian Geographic
Hinkler Central Shopping Centre, Bundaberg, near Boost Juice
Cairns Central, near Sanity
Casuarina Square, Darwin, near Lorna Jane
Cockburn Gateway, near Mazzuchelli’s
Australian Capital Territory
Gungahlin Marketplace, near Woolworths
What If There Are No Clinics Or Appointments In My Area?
According to health.gov.au, more appointments will become available as more clinics come on board, and more vaccines become available. People are encouraged to continue to check the vaccine clinic finder each week if they cannot secure a suitable appointment at this stage.
What Happens After I Get Vaccinated For COVID-19?
Even after you are vaccinated, it’s important to follow COVID-safe measures, which include:
- contact tracing
To continue to protect others, you still need to:
- practise good hygiene
- practise physical distancing
- follow the limits for public gatherings
- understand how to isolate if you need to
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, we recommend you check out the Australian Government's Department of Health website here.
Image credit: Seb Reivers