Your vaccination appointment

Following a review of the use of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends that the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer is preferred over the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca in adults aged under 50 years. Find out more.

COVID-19 vaccinations reduce the community’s risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and will help to reduce symptoms and side effects of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccines will be free for all people living in Australia.

Information will be provided to priority groups and the wider community when the vaccine becomes available to each group.

Right now, frontline healthcare workers, quarantine and airport workers, and residential aged care and disability care residents and staff are being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Find out if you are eligible and make a booking

To find out which phase of the rollout you’ll be in and if you can book a COVID-19 vaccination yet, visit the Australian Government’s Vaccine Eligibility Checker or call the National COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line on 1800 020 080.

Providing consent

Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is completely voluntary, however, it is strongly encouraged.

Consent can be withdrawn at any time prior to receiving the first or second dose of the vaccine.

Available COVID-19 vaccines

You will receive the vaccine that is available at the time and location of your appointment. The vaccine administered may also be determined by your health, age or occupation (if your occupation puts you at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19).

Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines will be used during all phases of the rollout.

Both vaccines have met the rigorous safety standards of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, 21 days apart. Detailed information can be found on the  TGA website.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, with the second dose recommended to be administered 12 weeks after the first. Detailed information can be found on the TGA website.

The Australian Government has secured doses of other COVID-19 vaccines, including Novavax, which are still subject to TGA approvals. More information can be found on the Department of Health website.

Preparing for your appointment

You will need to bring your Medicare card to your appointment. If you do not have a Medicare card, bring ID. 

You may be asked to wear a mask to your appointment. If you do not have a mask, you will be provided with one.

You can have someone attend your vaccination appointment for support, including a support worker, family member, carer or friend.

The vaccine will be administered by a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other health care worker depending on the phase of the rollout that you are in. Everyone providing the vaccine will have completed COVID-19 vaccination training.

The length of appointment will depend on your individual and health circumstances. If based on your personal circumstances, you know that you may need longer please account for that in your planning. Most people will need to allow up to 30 minutes for their appointment.

After your vaccination

It is not uncommon to have a reaction after a vaccination. After the vaccination you may experience:

  • injection site pain, redness, swelling
  • heavy feeling in the arm
  • fatigue/feeling tired
  • headache
  • fever
  • muscle aches or mild flu like symptoms.

If a reaction seems severe or persists for more than 3 or 4 days, you develop new or unexpected symptoms, or you are concerned, seek medical attention.

Everyone who receives the vaccine will be observed for at least 15 minutes after they have been vaccinated, to ensure they do not experience any immediate reactions and to provide medical care if needed.

People with a history of allergic reactions (including food allergies, reactions to insect stings, medicine allergies, etc.) will be observed for 30 minutes following administration of a vaccine.

Following up on your side effects

All vaccine recipients will be followed up with an automated text message three days and then eight days after get the vaccine. You will be asked if you have had any side effects, and the information will contribute to AusVaxSafety’s national COVID-19 vaccine safety surveillance.

AusVaxSafety is a world-leading national vaccine safety system, led by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.

Second vaccination appointment

You will need two doses of the vaccine and the length of time between your two doses will depend on which COVID-19 vaccine you receive. You will receive the same type of vaccine both times.

An appointment for your second dose will be made at the end of your first appointment.

Vaccination record

You will be given an official hard copy record of your vaccination.

Your vaccination information will also be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register.

You can also access your immunisation history statement through Medicare for proof of vaccination, both digitally and in hard copy, if required.

Helpful links from the Australian Government Department of Health

  • COVID-19 Vaccines: common questions
    This fact sheet provides accurate, evidence-based answers to common questions about COVID-19 vaccines. It also answers questions for multicultural communities.