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.

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Consent can be withdrawn at any time prior to receiving the first or second dose of the vaccine.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

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is being used during all phases of the rollout.The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged under 50 years.

The vaccine has 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.

AztraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is being used during all phases of the rollout. The vaccine has met the rigorous safety standards of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The TGA advises that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is preferred over the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in adults aged under 50 years who have not already received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. For more information about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, including Frequently Asked Questions for people who are planning to receive or have received the vaccine, see the Updated advice on COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.

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.

Other COVID-19 Vaccines

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.

An extremely rare blood clotting syndrome, Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS), has been linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The clotting condition occurs between four and 20 days after the first dose of vaccine. During this time, if you experience severe, persistent headaches that are different to your "usual" pattern and do not settle with paracetamol or other painkillers, seek medical advice as soon as possible.

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.

You can use the COVID-19 vaccine side effects symptom checker if you have concerns about any symptoms after having either of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Alternatively, you can call the National COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline on 1800 020 080.

Second vaccination appointment

To be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 you must have two doses of the same vaccine.
The length of time between your two doses will depend on which COVID-19 vaccine you receive.

An appointment for your second dose will be made at the end of your first appointment.
If you have received your first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without experiencing a serious adverse event, you can safely receive you second dose and you are strongly encouraged to do so.

If you received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and have questions or concerns, see the Updated advice on COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.

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.