COVID-19 vaccines will be free for everyone in Australia, even if you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This includes people without a Medicare card, overseas visitors, international students, migrant workers and asylum seekers.
Where the vaccine will be available
The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be available at 30 to 50 hospital hubs around Australia. Commonwealth-led vaccination will visit aged care facilities and disability residential accommodations to provide vaccinations.
The AstraZeneca vaccine, and any other vaccines that are approved for use, will be available at other locations including:
- GP respiratory clinics
- General Practices
- Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services
- state-run vaccination clinics, and
Number of doses
The COVID-19 vaccines approved in Australia require two doses.
The two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine need to be given at least 21 days apart.
Our Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has considered advice from the TGA as well as the international COVID-19 vaccinations, and decided that the AstraZeneca vaccine should be given 12 weeks apart. ATAGI has decided that this will create the best immune response, ensure the most effective protection and maximise broader community coverage.
What this means for you
Whether you are in a priority group or not, the best thing you can do is stay up to date and continue to be COVIDSafe.
If you are in a priority group, the Government will provide more information about how to get vaccinated in the coming weeks.
To keep you and your community safe, before and after vaccination, it is important that you continue to:
- Stay 1.5 metres away from other people and avoid handshakes and contact with people outside your household.
- Stay home if you feel unwell and get tested for COVID-19. You must stay at home until your results come back.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitiser.
- Always cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue and put the tissue in the bin straight away.
- Download the COVIDSafe app to help health officials let you know if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.
Protection through vaccination
Vaccines strengthen your immune system by training it to quickly remember and fight specific germs.
Vaccination involves receiving a vaccine from a needle or drops in the mouth by a trained health professional. A COVID-19 vaccine will be from a needle.
After vaccination, if you do catch the disease, your illness is likely to be less severe.
Vaccines are a safe way to strengthen your immune system without causing illness.
Likely side effects from COVID-19 vaccines
All medicines, including vaccines, have risks and benefits. Usually, any side effects are mild and may only last a few days.
Some of the normal temporary side effects for COVID-19 vaccines include pain at the injection site, fever or muscle aches.
Some people will experience flu-like symptoms from the vaccine that are more significant when compared to other common vaccinations, and may need time away from normal activities. For the Pfizer (COMIRNATY) vaccine, these symptoms are more common after the second dose. For the AstraZeneca vaccine, these symptoms are more common after the first dose.
See your doctor, nurse or go directly to the hospital if:
- you have a reaction that you consider severe or unexpected
- you are concerned about your condition after vaccination.
The TGA continues to oversee vaccines for safety while they are being used in Australia. More information about Australia’s system for monitoring the safety of vaccines, and how to report a suspected side effect, is available on the TGA website.
You can choose if you want to get vaccinated
Vaccination in Australia is voluntary, and you can choose if you want to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
If you choose not to have a COVID-19 vaccine, this will not affect your family’s eligibility for Family Tax Benefit Part A or childcare fee assistance.
In the future, vaccination against COVID-19 might become a requirement for travel or for people working in certain high-risk workplaces like aged care. If this becomes the case, there will be exemptions in place for people who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical conditions.
International and domestic travelling when vaccinated
The Australian Government’s advice for travellers has not changed, even if you have been vaccinated.
Passengers travelling to Australia must:
- get tested for COVID-19 72 hours or less before the scheduled flight departure
- show their evidence of a negative test result when checking in to their flight.
Before you travel interstate, you should check your local state and territory website for information about travel restrictions:
- Australian Capital Territory COVID-19
- New South Wales COVID-19
- Northern Territory COVID-19
- Queensland COVID-19
- South Australia COVID-19
- Tasmania COVID-19
- Victoria COVID-19
- Western Australia COVID-19
Where to go for trusted information
Its important people seek information from credible sources about the COVID-19 vaccination program.
For accurate, evidence-based information about COVID-19 vaccines visit the Home Affairs misinformation page.
You can also call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. For translating and interpreting services call 131 450.
Live link to vaccine information (26 languages):