COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

Frequently asked questions for the Western Australian community about the COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination rollout

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination?

The following people are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination:

  • Adults aged 30 years and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 years and over
  • Adults with underlying medical conditions (including disabilities)
  • Carers of adults and children with underlying medical conditions (external site)
  • Essential outbound travellers with a travel exemption
  • Critical and high-risk workers
  • Health care, aged care, disability care workers and volunteers
  • Quarantine and border workers, including household contacts.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to all eligible people under 50 years of age in WA Health run clinics.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be provided to adults 50 and over in WA Health run clinics, GP Clinics, GP Respiratory Clinics and Aboriginal Medical Services.

For adults over 50 who have specific underlying medical conditions visit the Requests for alternative COVID-19 vaccine (external site) for details on how to apply for an alternative vaccine.

When will I be vaccinated?

From 8 June 2021, all Western Australians aged 30 years and over can book to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Visit VaccinateWA (external site) to book a vaccine appointment

Who should have the vaccine?

All adults are recommended to have the vaccine once they are eligible. The vaccine program is being implemented in a phased approach with those most at risk of becoming very ill with COVID-19 and those at greater risk of becoming infected through their work and infecting others being offered the vaccine as a priority.

Will the vaccine be free?

Yes, the COVID-19 vaccination will be free for everyone living in Australia.

Do I still need to follow COVID safe practices while the vaccine is rolled out?

Yes. It is important for everyone to continue to practise good hygiene, physical distancing and staying home if you are sick during the vaccine rollout. A COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect the Australian community. Read more about how to protect yourself from viruses.

Will people still need to enter quarantine for 14 days if they come into WA from overseas or interstate, and have been vaccinated?

Yes. Vaccination is not a complete substitute for other public health interventions. Testing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation will remain in place until evidence is established about the degree to which the vaccination prevents transmission, and adequate community coverage is achieved in Australia. In Australia, mandatory quarantine with COVID-19 testing at regular intervals is still considered the best strategy for managing the potential public health risk posed by incoming travellers. 

Do children have to get the vaccine?

At this stage, it has not been recommended that children under 16 years receive the vaccine. If this advice changes, they will be included in later phases of the vaccine roll out.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Which vaccines are currently approved for use in Australia?

There are currently two COVID-19 vaccines registered for use in Australia:

  • COMIRNATY developed by Pfizer and BioNTech
  • COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca developed by the University of Oxford in the UK.

Both have been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), meaning they have met rigorous standards for safety, quality and efficacy.

Is the vaccine mandatory?

Vaccination is not mandatory, and individuals can choose whether to get vaccinated. Everyone will be offered a vaccine and it is free. The Australian Government and WA Government strongly encourages people to get vaccinated. Doing so will help protect you, your family and the community.

COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory in the hotel quarantine system from Monday, 10 May 2021.

How do I book my vaccination appointment? 

Those eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination can book an appointment from Perth metropolitan COVID-19 vaccination community clinics and a number of regional public hospital-based vaccination clinics.

It is recommended that people have their Medicare card on them when making the booking. Walk-ins are not recommended.

COVID-19 vaccination appointments can also be made with participating General Practices, GP respiratory clinics and Aboriginal Medical Services. These appointments can be made via the vaccine eligibility checker (external site) or contacting them directly. 

Employer invitation

Some workers may receive an invitation to book from their employers inviting you to register and create an account in VaccinateWA.

Should I receive the vaccine if I have already had the COVID-19 infection?

You should still receive the vaccine even if you have had a previous COVID-19 infection as you may have some level of immunity, but this varies and may not last long. The vaccine has been designed specifically to give reliable, lasting immunity, however we are yet to determine how long it offers protection.

What proof of eligibility will I need to provide for my appointment?

All standard forms of identification (driver's licence, passport) will be accepted).

What proof of eligibility will I need to provide if I have an underlying medical condition?

For individuals attending their usual GP, the clinic’s records may be relied upon as evidence. Other forms of accepted evidence include:

  • My Health Record
  • A referral from GP or treating specialist
  • Alternative medical records, including:
    • a print-out of your medical history as recorded in your clinical records
    • a print-out of your chronic disease care plan
    • a discharge summary from a hospital or other medical facility, or
    • a valid script or medication prescribed to treat one or more of the relevant medical conditions.
  • Where none of these are available, individuals may complete a Phase 1B declaration form (external site).

Should women who are breastfeeding get vaccinated?

If you are breastfeeding, it is preferable for you to have the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine. This is the preferred vaccine for adults aged under 50 years. However, you can still have the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca if the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks for you. You do not need to stop breastfeeding after vaccination.

For more information go to the COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy (external site). This will be updated as more vaccines are registered for use in Australia.

Should women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy get vaccinated?

The COVID-19 vaccine is not routinely recommended in pregnancy. However, you may wish to consider getting vaccinated while pregnant if the potential benefits outweigh any theoretical risks. Specifically, you may wish to discuss having the COVID-19 vaccine during your pregnancy with your doctor if:

  • you have medical risk factors for severe COVID-19

    OR

  • you are at high risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

You may wish to wait until after you have delivered to be vaccinated if:

  • you have no risk factors for severe COVID-19
    OR
  • you are not at high risk of exposure to COVID-19.

If you are pregnant, your healthcare provider can help you to assess the benefits and risks of vaccination. The Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine is preferred over the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca for adults aged under 50 years.

For more information go to the COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy (external site). This will be updated as more vaccines are registered for use in Australia.

Which vaccine will I receive?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COMIRNATY vaccine can be used for people aged over 16 and is specifically recommended for people aged under 50.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended for people aged 50 and over.

You will be offered the suitable vaccine at the time of booking.

Both vaccines require 2 doses. You will receive the same vaccine for both dose 1 and dose 2.

If you have already received an AstraZeneca dose, Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation advice is that it’s safe to receive a second AstraZeneca dose.

There are some rare cases in which individuals who are 50 years or over have certain medical conditions that prevent them from being able to have the AstraZeneca vaccine. Read more about the criteria and the process for applying to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

How can Phase 1a/1b priority groups under 50 years of age receive the Pfizer vaccine?

The Western Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Program is currently prioritising its limited supply of the Pfizer vaccines to active frontline workers aged under 50 years from phases 1a and 1b priority groups.

As more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, WA Health will be able to invite additional phase 1b priority groups who are under 50 years of age to book in and attend an appointment at a state run Pfizer clinic.

How many doses of the vaccine will I need?

Two doses of the vaccine are required. After you have received your first dose of the vaccine, you will be invited to book your second dose in the clinic.

If you have provided a valid email address, you will also receive a confirmation email after the event containing important information for your records. The email will also include details on how to book for your second dose if you have not made a booking in the clinic following your first dose.

What is the timing between the doses?

The timing between doses varies depending on which vaccine you receive:

Pfizer

The recommended interval between doses of the Pfizer vaccine is 21 days. The minimum acceptable interval between the two doses is 19 days. If this isn’t possible, it is recommended to complete the two-dose course within 6 weeks.

If the interval between doses is less than 19 days, this may result in a lower immune response than you would have otherwise. However, it is not currently recommended that a vaccine dose is repeated if this occurs.

AstraZeneca

The recommended interval between two doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is 12 weeks. The minimum interval between doses is 4 weeks.

Shortening the interval from 12 weeks to no less than 4 weeks between doses is acceptable and may be appropriate in certain circumstances, such as a risk of COVID-19 exposure. If a dose has been given before the minimum 4-week interval, it is not currently recommended that the vaccine dose be repeated.

What happens if the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine is given late or is missed?

If the second dose of either the Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty) or the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is overdue, the second dose should be given as soon as possible.

A single dose is likely to only provide short-term protection. The second dose will be effective regardless of how late it is given. Even if the second dose is late, no vaccine doses need to be repeated.

Additional or booster doses beyond the two-dose course are not currently recommended.

The need for any additional doses will be reviewed over time in line with the latest health advice.

Can I switch between brands for my first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccine?

No. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine are not considered interchangeable.

The two-dose course should be completed with the same vaccine. There is no data yet on the efficacy of mixed schedules. For further information, see page 15 of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) Clinical guidance on use of COVID-19 vaccine in Australia in 2021 (external site).

Will I receive a proof of vaccination document or certificate?

Following your vaccination, you will receive a confirmation email which will contain relevant information about your vaccination, including brand, batch, dose etc. This email will also outline important aftercare information for you.

This email is not an official immunisation record. Australians can already access their immunisation history statement (external site) through Medicare for proof of vaccination, both digitally and in hard copy, if required.

Statements can be viewed on an individual’s Medicare online account or via the Medicare app.

Your immunisation history statement will record your COVID-19 vaccinations, following each dose.

What happens if I am unwell on the day of my appointment?

If you feel unwell on the day of your appointment, please ensure you cancel your booking. If you are feeling unwell and have any symptoms you should also go and get a COVID-19 test.

Do I need to keep practising COVID-19 safe behaviours after I get the vaccine?

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help to prevent you from getting seriously ill from the virus. However, if you do get COVID-19, you could still spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you, particularly people at increased risk of severe illness. Therefore, it is important to continue practising good hygiene, physical distancing and other COVID safe practices after you get the vaccine.

Will the vaccination be required annually, like the influenza (flu) vaccination?

COVID-19 vaccines have only been available for several months, so it’s too early to know for sure how long protection will last. Evaluations are ongoing to answer this question and whether a 'booster' might be recommended at some point in the future.

I'm travelling overseas, can I get a COVID-19 vaccination before I leave Australia?    

Australian citizens and permanent residents under 50 years of age who have an approved outwards travel exemption in an eligible category are now able to access COVID-19 vaccinations. (Those aged 50 or over are already eligible for an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination.)

To be eligible, travel exemptions must be granted on or after 20 May 2021 for one of the following reasons:

  • your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid
  • your travel is for your business or employer
  • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • you are travelling on compassionate or compelling grounds
  • you are travelling for urgent or unavoidable personal business
  • your travel is in the national interest.

If you have a travel exemption granted for eligible reasons before 20 May 2021, and have not left Australia, you can submit a new travel exemption request. Upload all relevant documents and state that you wish to be eligible for vaccination before travelling.

Apply for a travel exemption (external site)

You will not be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination if your outward travel exemption is granted for ‘compelling reasons for at least 3 months’

COVID-19 vaccines before your travel are not mandatory. You should follow expert health advice and access a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as practicable.    

COVID-19 vaccine safety

What is the latest information about the AstraZeneca vaccine?

As of 8 April 2021, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommends:

  • the Pfizer vaccine is preferred for adults aged under 50 years
  • COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can be used in adults aged under 50 years ­– where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits
  • people who have had the first dose of AstraZeneca without any serious adverse effects can be given the second dose, including adults under 50 years. 

Learn more about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine | Australian Government Department of Health (external site).

The COVID-19 vaccines have been developed so quickly, how can we be sure they are safe?

All available vaccines undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are safe before being made available to people in Western Australia. The Australian Government is responsible for selecting and purchasing vaccines. Vaccines will only be available to Australians once proven safe and effective for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) (external site).

Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines have been able to be developed faster than other vaccines because of several reasons:

  • a level of funding and commitment not seen before
  • the use of innovative technologies
  • researchers and vaccine manufacturers around the world working together to respond to the pandemic.

Some steps of the clinical development and assessment processes have been done at the same time, instead of one after the other, as is usually the case. This has reduced the time it takes to complete the work, without omitting important steps, and large clinical trials of the vaccines were able to progress as quickly as possible.

What is in the vaccine?

The Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) produced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration contains a full list of all vaccine ingredients. See the CMI for:

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. COVID-19 illness is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. None of the vaccines approved for use in Australia contain this virus, so they cannot cause COVID-19 illness. This means the COVID-19 vaccines cannot give you COVID-19.

Is the vaccine safe for those with chronic medical conditions and allergies?

Additional precaution may need to be taken for people with certain conditions, such as staying for 30 minutes of observation after having their vaccine or consulting an allergy specialist.

Tell your immunisation provider if you have had:

  • an allergic reaction to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or to an ingredient of the vaccine
  • anaphylaxis to other vaccines or to other medicines. Your provider can check to ensure there are no common ingredients with the COVID-19 vaccine you are receiving
  • a mast cell disorder.

If you have a bleeding disorder or you are taking a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant), tell your immunisation provider. Your provider can help determine whether it is safe for you to have an intramuscular injection and help to decide the best timing for injection.

People with chronic medical conditions or who are immunocompromised are recommeded to get the vaccine as they are at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19 and will be prioritised for vaccination.

What about people who have had an allergic reaction to another vaccine or medication?

If you have had anaphylaxis (a type of severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or to one of its ingredients, then you should not have the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines may be given to people with a history of severe allergy or anaphylaxis to food, drugs, venom, or latex and those with allergic conditions, including asthma, eczema or hay fever. Additional precautions are currently recommended for persons with a history of anaphylaxis to previous vaccines and/or multiple drugs. Your immunisation provider will ask you about any potential allergies prior to vaccination and decide how best to manage your situation.

Are there any special vaccine safety concerns for immunocompromised patients?

No. None of the vaccines approved for use in Australia contain a live virus that can cause COVID-19. This means that the COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

In general, people with underlying chronic medical conditions are at increased risk of severe illness with COVID-19 and should be prioritised for vaccination. COVID-19 vaccine is also recommended for people who are immunocompromised because of their increased risk of severe illness with COVID-19.

For more information on use of the vaccine in immunocompromised see: COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for people with immunocompromised (external site).

If someone develops COVID-19 symptoms shortly after their vaccination, should they get tested for COVID-19?

None of the vaccines approved for use in Australia contain a live virus that can cause COVID-19. This means that the COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

Testing someone who develops symptoms of fever, headache, fatigue or muscle/joint aches within 2 days of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, and where the symptoms last less than 2 days, is not always necessary.

If you develop the types of symptoms that are commonly reported a day or so after vaccination and you have NO respiratory symptoms (no cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose or loss of smell), it is more likely that you are having an expected response to the vaccine. You should call your doctor and ask for advice if you have any respiratory symptoms, are unsure, or think you might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Will I be protected from COVID-19 once I get the vaccine?

Making safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available to all Australians is a key component of Australia’s strategy for protecting the community from COVID-19.

No vaccines offer total immunity but help to reduce the spread of infection and severity of illness if you are infected.

After you get the vaccine, it is important to continue practising good hygiene, physical distancing, and staying home if you're sick and getting tested for COVID-19.

Is one vaccine better than the other?

Providing access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for everyone in Australia is a priority for the Australian Government. The TGA assesses all COVID-19 vaccines before they can be used in Australia.

Both vaccines approved by the TGA have been proven to be safe and effective in protecting against COVID-19 illness, including severe disease.

What are the possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? Will I feel unwell after vaccination?

All vaccines can cause side effects. Usually these are mild. You may experience minor side effects following vaccination. Most side effects last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.

About a third of people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine to date in Western Australia report experiencing some symptoms when contacted by SMS 3 days after vaccination. The most common side effects after COVID-19 vaccination are usually mild and include:

  • pain, redness and/or swelling where you received the needle
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • muscle and/or joint ache
  • mild fever.

When they occur, these symptoms typically start within 24 hours of vaccination, last 1 to 2 days, and resolve without treatment.

These types of reactions are often a sign that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and helping to teach your body how to fight off COVID-19 if you are later exposed to the virus.

Serious reactions like allergic reactions are extremely rare. If you have a reaction that is unexpected, or if you are unsure, consult with your GP.

If you believe your reaction is severe or life-threatening you should call triple zero (000) for an ambulance or go to your closest emergency department.

Significant and unexpected reactions should be reported to the Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS). Your immunisation provider should report all suspected significant reactions, but you can also do it yourself on the SAFEVAC Reporting website (external site).

For more information visit the Australian Government website (external site)

What are the symptoms of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)?

Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) is very rare and occurs around 4-28 days after vaccination.

Symptoms can include abdominal pain and/or severe headache that does not settle with pain relief.

People should seek medical attention immediately if they experience these symptoms:

  • a severe persistent headache with additional features:
    • appears at least 4 days after vaccination
    • does not improve with simple painkillers
    • may be worse when lying down or accompanied by nausea and vomiting
  • neurological symptoms such as:
    • blurred vision
    • difficulty with speech
    • drowsiness
    • seizures 
  • shortness of breath or chest pain
  • a swollen leg
  • persistent abdominal (belly) pain
  • tiny blood spots under the skin away from the site of injection together with symptoms above.

If you believe your reaction is severe or life-threatening you should call triple zero (000) for an ambulance or go to your closest emergency department.

Significant and unexpected reactions should be reported to the Western Australian Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS). Your immunisation provider should report all suspected significant reactions, but you can also do it yourself on the SAFEVAC Reporting website (external site).

Further information on TTS can be found at Patient information on AstraZeneca vaccine and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (external site)

For more information visit the Australian Government website (external site)

Should you take blood thinning medication (such as Aspirin) before having the AstraZeneca vaccine? (New FAQ)

It is not recommended to take over the counter medicine before receiving a vaccination for the purpose of preventing potential side effects.

You should continue to take prescribed medication unless advised by your medical practitioner.

Always discuss any existing medical conditions with your GP or immunisation provider before you get any vaccine.

What happens if I have an allergic reaction to my first dose of vaccine? Will I be able to complete the 2-dose series with a different brand of COVID-19 vaccine?

It is uncommon for people to have anaphylaxis or a serious allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, however if you did experience a serious allergic reaction to the first dose of COVID19 vaccination you should be referred to a specialist Immunology or Vaccination clinic for further assessment. Decisions around second dose should be dependent upon that discussion.

The specialist may recommend an alternate brand for the second dose. If an alternate brand is used for the second dose, a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine does not need to be given.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation advises that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are not considered interchangeable, and that the two-dose course should usually be completed with the same vaccine as there is no data yet on the efficacy of mixed schedules. Your doctor may recommend you proceed with the same brand for the second dose and for vaccination to be undertaken in a medically supervised environment if your reaction was not severe.

COVID-19 vaccine efficacy

Is the vaccine effective?

Clinical trial and real-world experience for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and COMIRNATY have shown they are proving safe and effective in preventing symptomatic illness including severe COVID-19 disease and hospitalisation.

How will a vaccine prevent COVID-19?

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has spikes of protein on each viral particle. These spike proteins allow the virus to attach to cells and cause disease.

The vaccines help the body to 'recognise' these spike proteins as foreign and latch onto them. This can prevent the virus from entering human cells and lower their chances of getting COVID-19 illness if they encounter the coronavirus.

Is the purpose of the vaccine to prevent community transmission, or reduce symptoms?

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help to prevent you from getting seriously ill. If you do contract COVID-19, you could still spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness.

Experts continue to conduct more studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness from COVID-19, as well as its ability to prevent even mild or asymptomatic illness and keep vaccinated people from spreading the virus.

How long does the protection from the vaccine last?

At this stage, there isn’t enough information to know for sure how long protection against COVID-19 will last. This is why it’s still important to continue practising good hygiene, physical distancing and other COVID-safe recommendations, after you have been vaccinated.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration will continue to monitor the ongoing efforts to establish how well the vaccines protect over time.

Will the vaccines be effective against the UK and South African strains?

Laboratory tests are showing that the COVID-19 vaccines induce antibodies that are likely to be able to respond to most changes in the virus' spike protein that have been identified to date. Australia will continue to closely monitor international developments regarding COVID-19 variants of concern and will continue to perform careful genetic examination of the virus found in local cases.

Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 vaccines

Should I get an influenza (flu) vaccine as well as a COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against influenza, so you should still have an influenza vaccine. To provide greater protection throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and to minimise the possibility of contracting both influenza and COVID-19 infection at the same time, it is recommended to get the influenza vaccine in readiness for the winter influenza season.

It is recommended that the influenza vaccine is delayed for 14 days before or after receiving a dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

When booking in to receive a COVID-19 or influenza vaccine, please ensure there is an interval of 14 days between receiving each vaccine. This should be discussed with the immunisation provider before attending a vaccine appointment to avoid being refused a vaccination at the appointment.

Read more detailed guidance about COVID-19 vaccines and influenza vaccination (external site).

Can I have the influenza (flu) vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?

Getting an influenza vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day is not recommended. It is best to wait at least 14 days between receiving a dose of seasonal influenza vaccine and a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, there are circumstances when shortening of intervals between a dose of influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine may be justified, such as:

  • if the preferred minimum interval (14 days) will likely lead to an individual missing the opportunity to receive either of the vaccine doses.
  • if there is an urgent need to administer either of these vaccines because of the requirement for protection from influenza or COVID-19 in the local environment.

This should be discussed with the immunisation provider before attending a vaccine appointment to avoid being refused a vaccination at the appointment.

Read more detailed guidance about COVID-19 vaccines and influenza vaccination (external site).

Should I receive the COVID-19 vaccine before the influenza vaccine?

There is no specific recommendation regarding the order of receiving an influenza vaccine and either dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more detailed guidance about COVID-19 vaccines and influenza vaccination (external site).

COVID-19 vaccine suppliers

AstraZeneca

Who developed AstraZeneca?

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is developed by The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom.

How many doses of the vaccine is needed?

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses.

What is the timeframe between first and second doses?

The two doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are given between 10 and 12 weeks apart.

Is it safe?

Australians should be confident that AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine meets the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s high safety and quality standards.

Who is it recommended for?

  • COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is preferred for adults over 50 years
  • COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can be used in adults aged 18 to 50 years ­– where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits
  • People who have had the first dose of AstraZeneca without any serious adverse effects, including adults under 50 years.

How effective is it?

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing severe disease. The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is about 62-70% effective at preventing people from getting sick with COVID-19, based on information from clinical trial results.

Pfizer

Who developed the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine?

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech.

What is in the vaccine?

Pfizer vaccine contains the mRNA and other substances to stabilize the vaccine: such as Distearoylphosphatidylcholine, cholesterol, potassium chloride, Monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, Sucrose and water for injections.

How many doses of the vaccine is needed?

Pfizer vaccine requires 2 doses.

What is the timeframe between first and second doses?

The two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are given between 3 and 6 weeks apart.

Is it safe?

Australians should be confident that Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine meets the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s high safety and quality standards.

Who is it recommended for?

The Pfizer vaccine is preferred for adults aged under 50 years

How effective is it?

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine is highly effective at preventing severe disease. It is about 95% effective at preventing people from getting sick with COVID-19, based on initial clinical trial results.

Source: Information on COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and Information COVID-19 Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine mythbusters

Read the COVID-19 vaccine mythbusters and FAQs for Aboriginal people (PDF 1MB).

Some social media posts say the vaccine isn’t safe, is this true?

As with anything regarding your health you should listen to the advice of health professionals and other trusted sources.

Health professionals are updated with the latest information throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we should continue to listen to their advice.

If you have concerns or questions about the vaccine, discuss them with your doctor and make sure you get your information from trusted sources including health.wa.gov.au, HealthyWA and Australian Government website (external site). .

Are Aboriginal people being used as guinea pigs for the vaccine?

Aboriginal people are not the first people to receive the COVID-19 vaccines. Over a billion people across the world have already received the vaccine safely.

COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary. The COVID-19 vaccination is recommended to protect yourself, Elders and community.

Are Aboriginal people being told to get the vaccine before everyone else?

All Australians will have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine that is appropriate for them when available. The highest priority groups are eligible to get their vaccines first, including at-risk front-line health care workers, quarantine and border workers, those living and working in aged and disability residential care facilities and Aboriginal people.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine killing Aboriginal people or making them sick?

Some people may experience mild and temporary side effects after vaccination such as tiredness, muscle soreness and redness around the injection site and mild fever. This is normal for any vaccine and there is no evidence that Aboriginal people react worse to the vaccine than others.

Serious reactions from the vaccine are extremely rare. Recent serious side effects of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine are being closely monitored by the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

Will the vaccine alter my DNA?

The vaccine does not change DNA.

Both vaccines work by getting cells to make the COVID-19 specific spike protein. Immune cells recognise the protein as foreign and this triggers the immune system to make antibodies that can target and destroy the virus.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine implant a microchip to track movements?

The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain a tracking microchip and there is no evidence or data to support this. Microchips are too large to be administered through needle injection.

 It is best to receive your information from trusted sources including health.wa.gov.au and HealthyWA.

Only old people get or die from COVID, so why should I get the vaccine?

Anyone can get COVID-19 and it remains a major risk around the world. The elderly and people with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes are most at risk of serious COVID-19 infections.

Even if you are not an older person, you should still get vaccinated against COVID-19 with the appropriate vaccine for your age group, when you become eligible. The vaccine will strengthen your immune system by training it to recognise and fight the COVID-19 virus before it makes you very sick and minimises the chances of passing it to others.

Protecting those most at risk from COVID-19 and reducing the impact of the virus, including Elders, older persons and people with pre-existing medical conditions, continues to be a priority.

More information

COVID-19 vaccines Is it true? | Australian Government Department of Health (external site)

Last reviewed: 08-06-2021

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

vaccine vial above the text 'vaccine eligibility checker'