Before and after your vaccination appointment

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

Here’s what you can expect before, during and after your vaccination appointment.

Available COVID-19 vaccines

All people aged 5 and over are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available to all people 12 years and over.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, 21 days apart.

Children aged 5 to 11 can get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which is a third of a dose given to people 12 and over. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, 8 weeks apart.

See more information about the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is available to all people 12 years and over.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, 28 days apart.

See more information about the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is available to all people 18 years and over.

You will need to make an informed decision by speaking with your vaccine provider. For more information, visit the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine page.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, with the second dose recommended to be administered between 8 to 12 weeks after the first.

See more information about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Providing consent

Consent can be withdrawn at any time prior to receiving the first or second dose of the vaccine.

You will be given a consent form (PDF 192KB) at your vaccination appointment. If you require extra time to fill this out, you can fill it in and bring it to your appointment.

Preparing for your appointment

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

The length of appointment will depend on your individual personal 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 30 minutes for their appointment.

Proof of eligibility

You will need to bring proof of your eligibility to your appointment, such as:

  • proof of age

For people aged 12 to 15 years, the following additional proof of your eligibility may be required:

  • proof of occupation (ID card or letter from employer)
  • if you’re attending your usual GP, the clinic’s records may be relied upon as evidence
  • My Health Record
  • a referral from GP or treating specialist
  • a printout of your medical history as recorded in clinical records
  • a printout of your chronic disease care plan or a discharge summary from a hospital
  • a valid script or medication prescribed to treat one or more of the relevant medical conditions
  • self-identification as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander at the time of vaccination, which may be verbal.

Where this evidence is not available, individuals may complete an Eligibility Declaration Form.

At your appointment

Please wear loose clothing to your appointment that enables easy access to your upper arm where you will receive the vaccination.

If you are being vaccinated at a GP clinic, Respiratory clinic, or alternative vaccination site, they will provide you with further information prior to your appointment.

Before you enter the clinic or site, use the mySA GOV app to COVID Safe Check-In.

When you enter an SA Health COVID-19 vaccination clinic, you will be given a consent form (PDF 128KB) to fill in.

When a vaccinator is available, you will be asked to go to a vaccination bay or room where the person vaccinating you will:

  • take your consent form
  • confirm your identity
  • ask about your recent vaccination history
  • seek your informed consent for the delivery of the vaccine and check your signature on your consent form
  • administer your vaccine.

After you have been vaccinated, you will leave your consent form with the vaccinator and they will provide you with a vaccine record.

Observation after your vaccination

Everyone who is vaccinated 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.

Side effects

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.

Common reactions to vaccination include pain, redness and/or swelling where you received the needle, mild fever, headache and flu-like symptoms.

Serious reactions such as allergic reactions are extremely rare.

See your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital if:

  • you have a reaction that you consider severe or unexpected
  • you are concerned about your condition after vaccination.

People should seek medical attention immediately if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • swelling in your leg
  • persistent abdominal (belly) pain
  • neurological symptoms, including severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision
  • tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of injection.

Use the COVID-19 vaccine side effects symptom checker if you have concerns about any symptoms after your vaccine.

You can call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787 8.00am to 8.00pm, 7 days a week.

Following up on your side effects

You may be followed up with an automated text message three days and then eight days after getting 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.

You may be asked to book both appointments at once, or to make an appointment for your second dose when you attend your first appointment.

If you have received your first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without experiencing a serious adverse event, you can safely receive your second dose and you are strongly encouraged to do so.

If you received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and have questions or concerns, speak with your GP or healthcare provider.

Dr Emily Kirkpatrick answers your questions about the second COVID-19 vaccine dose in the video below:

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.

Further information