COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

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

COVID-19 vaccines

Which vaccines are currently approved for use in Australia?

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

All COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia have been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), meaning they have met rigorous standards for safety, quality and efficacy.

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:

Are the vaccines haram?

No. The Australian Fatwa Council declared the COVID-19 vaccines permissible according to Islamic law in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine Fatwa (Islamic Verdict) (PDF 611KB) (external site)

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination?

Everyone aged 5 years and older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Is the vaccine free?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccination is free for everyone living in Australia.

Vaccination providers cannot charge you for the COVID-19 vaccine or the appointments to receive the vaccine.

I have a disability/need additional support, where can I get vaccinated?

For people in the metropolitan area, the Claremont Showgrounds (external site), Carramar (external site), Kwinana (external site), and Midland (external site) community vaccination clinics are specially designed Enhanced Access and Sensory Clinics, each having rooms to support people with disability, people who have mental health conditions, those who require a low sensory environment, or who may need other additional support to receive their vaccinations.

Therapy dogs can be requested and booked in advance to attend your appointment at these selected clinics.

Bookings are essential for the Sensory Clinics. To book, fill in the fill out the Further Assistance Required (external site) online form or call 13 COVID (13 268 43).

Most state-run vaccination clinics can accommodate people who may need to lie down when receiving a vaccination. Most of these clinics also have enclosed/private vaccination spaces where a support person can also attend the appointment and have ACROD car parking bays close to the clinic entrance.

The Australian Government also has established Disability Vaccination Hubs in WA. A number of the hubs have been established in collaboration with disability service providers. The list is regularly updated so stay up-to-date with the closest location to you (external site).

Learn more on the Vaccine information for people with a disability or require additional support (external site) webpage, fill out the Further Assistance Required (external site) online form or call 13 COVID (13 268 43).

Is the vaccine mandatory?

Vaccination is only mandatory for people working in specified occupations. Everyone will be offered free COVID-19 vaccination. The Australian Government and WA Government strongly encourage people to get vaccinated. Doing so helps protect you, your family and the community.

You are encouraged to speak to your employer about whether the vaccine is mandated in your workplace.

For further information on the Directions for mandatory vaccination and exemption information please visit the Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for WA workforces (external site) and the COVID-19 Emergency Directions webpage (external site).

Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccination?

There are many locations across WA where you can get a COVID-19 vaccine. These include state-run community vaccination clinics, GPs, pharmacies, GP respiratory clinics and Aboriginal Medical Services.

If visiting a state-run clinic in Perth’s metropolitan area, it is recommended to book an appointment. People with a booking will be prioritised to receive the vaccine close to their booking time. However state-run clinics in regional areas do not require an appointment and walk-ins are welcomed. To find your closest clinic, view the list of COVID-19 vaccination community clinics.

Children aged 5-11 years – While most State-run clinics will accept walk-ins for the paediatric COVID-19 vaccine, bookings are recommended for this age group. Visit VaccinateWA (external site) to make a booking or call 13COVID for assistance.

People can also make a booking at participating GPs, pharmacies, respiratory GP clinics or Aboriginal Medical Services by visiting the COVID-19 vaccine clinic finder (external site).

How do I book my vaccination appointment?

For instructions on how to register and book online through VaccinateWA and how to book a child or dependant under your account please see the VaccinateWA frequently asked questions.

It is recommended that if you have a Medicare card you should have it with you when making the booking.

You can also text or SMS ‘Hey EVA’ to 0418 611 382, to receive a call back from a National Coronavirus Helpline agent who will help you find a vaccination appointment for yourself, or the person you are booking an appointment for. Hours of operation are 7am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

Once you text ‘Hey EVA,’ you will receive a templated response text message reply asking for:

  • Name
  • Language if required
  • Time and date for a call back
  • Preferred number of a call back

A specially trained call taker from the National Coronavirus Helpline will call you back and book a vaccine appointment that suits your needs.

Do I need a Medicare card to get vaccinated?

No, a Medicare card is not required to receive a vaccine.

Some vaccination clinics are offering vaccinations without an appointment, please see the metropolitan and regional clinic lists for details, or call 13 COVID (13 26843) for advice.

If you have a Medicare card, it is recommended you have that with you when you make a booking.

Will you share the information I give you with anyone else?

Your information will only be shared with the Australian Immunisation Register so that you can get your vaccination certificate - we are not allowed to share it with anyone else. Please see our Privacy Policy (external site) for information on how we use your information.

Who is allowed to go to a state vaccination clinic or GP or Pharmacy?

Anyone can attend vaccination clinics, GPs or pharmacies who are providing COVID-19 vaccines. Look for a location near you and make a booking on the Roll up for WA website (external site).

How do I get language help?

To access language help please complete the COVID-19 vaccination: Further assistance required form (external site). You or someone else can request help online or by calling 13COVID (13 268 43).

Can I get vaccinated if I’ve had COVID-19?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends that all people should wait for 3 months after confirmed COVID-19 infection before they receive their next COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The next scheduled dose should then be given as soon as possible after this period.

Waiting for a 3-month period after infection before COVID-19 vaccination is intended to optimise protection as a longer gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

This change in recommendation applies to all people who are recommended to receive COVID-19 vaccination (i.e., from 5 years and above), regardless of how many COVID-19 vaccine doses they have received.

Learn more about vaccination after testing positive for COVID-19 on the additional clinical considerations for COVID-19 vaccination page on the Australian Government Department of Health website (external site).

Which vaccine will I receive?

  • Children aged:
    • 5-11 years are eligible to receive the paediatric Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine
    • 6-11 years are also eligible to receive the paediatric Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine
  • People aged 12 years and over are eligible to receive the Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines. The Moderna vaccine is currently available through participating GPs and community pharmacies through the Vaccine Clinic Finder (external site).
  • People aged 18 and over are also eligible to receive the Nuvaxovid (Novavax) COVID-19 vaccine (in addition to the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines).
  • People aged 60 years and over are also eligible to receive the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) COVID-19 vaccine (in addition to the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines).

How can I show proof of my COVID-19 vaccinations?

There are two ways to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations:

Visit Services Australia website How to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccine website (external site) for detailed guidance on getting proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations if:

  • you are not eligible for Medicare
  • cannot get your proof online, or
  • have received an overseas vaccination

If you have provided a valid email address when booking your vaccination, you will receive a confirmation email following your vaccination. This 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.

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 get tested for COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccine doses and timing

How many doses of the vaccine will I need?

The number of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine you are recommended to receive will depend on your age and personal circumstances.

This table linked below outlines which vaccines and doses are recommended for each age and population group.

Do I need a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine?

A booster dose is recommended for everyone aged 16 years and older, which is given 3 months or more after the second dose to maintain optimum protection.

Severely immunocompromised individuals aged 16 and over who have received 3 primary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are also recommended to have a booster dose 3 months after their primary course, and an additional winter booster dose four months after their first booster.

For more information, see ATAGI recommendations on the use of a third primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised (external site).

ATAGI have also recommended that some people receive an additional winter booster dose – see below.

Winter booster dose recommendations

ATAGI recommends an additional winter booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccination for selected population groups who are at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and who have received their primary vaccination course and first booster dose. This is to increase protection for people in these groups before winter commences.

These groups are:

  • Adults aged 65 years and older
  • Residents of aged care or disability care facilities
  • People aged 16 years and older with severe immunocompromise (as defined in the ATAGI statement on the use of a 3rd primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older.

ATAGI does not currently recommend an additional booster dose for healthy people who are not in one of the above groups.

The additional winter booster dose can be given:

  • from 4 months or longer after the person has received their first booster dose, or
  • from 4 months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection, if infection occurred since the person’s first COVID-19 booster dose.

See the (ATAGI) statement about recommendations for a winter booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine (external site).

Vaccines recommended for boosters

No booster vaccine is recommended for people aged 5-15 years.

Comirnaty (Pfizer) is the only recommended vaccine for use as a booster for people aged 16-17 years.

For individuals aged 18 years and older, Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine are preferred for use as booster doses, however, Nuvaxovid (Novavax) can be used if no other COVID-19 vaccine is considered suitable for that individual – see ATAGI advice (external site).

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is no longer recommended by ATAGI (external site) for use as the booster dose for people who received a primary vaccination course of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, although it can still be used for this purpose if these individuals decline receiving an mRNA vaccine as a booster dose.

AstraZeneca is now only recommended when there are medical contraindications to the mRNA vaccines.

What is the timing between the doses?

Recommended intervals between doses are:

  • Spikevax (Moderna):
  • Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca): 12 weeks
  • Nuvaxoid (Novavax): Minimum of 3 weeks, can extend to 8 weeks to potentially improve effectiveness and reduce any potential risk of myocarditis and pericarditis. See ATAGI advice (external site).
  • Booster doses: 3 or more months after the second dose
  • Winter booster dose: from 4 months or longer after the person has received their first booster dose.

For severely immunocompromised people

  • Third dose (as part of primary course): from age 5 years and older, 2 months after the second dose of vaccine.
  • Booster dose (4th dose) for people aged 16 and over: 3 or more months after the third primary dose.
  • Winter booster dose: from 4 months or longer after the person has received their first booster dose.

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

If the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is overdue, it should be given as soon as possible.

A single dose is likely to only provide short-term protection. The second dose will improve protection regardless of how late it is given. Even if the second dose is late, no vaccine doses need to be repeated. A booster dose is recommended for anyone aged 16 years and over who has had their second dose 3 or more months ago.

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

It is recommended people have the same vaccine brand for the first and second dose.

However, an alternative vaccine can be offered for the second dose in some circumstances, including:

  • Severe side effects after the first dose – there are medical contraindications or precautions to a vaccine
  • Overseas vaccines – the original vaccine is not available in Australia
  • Lack of access – a person is unable to access a particular vaccine
  • Personal preference – where someone is not accepting of a second dose of the same brand

If you have questions about switching brands between your first and second dose of COVID vaccine you should discuss it with your health care provider.

For further information, see COVID-19 vaccination – ATAGI Clinical advice on the use of a different COVID-19 vaccine as the second dose (external site).

I have a health condition which causes me to be severely immunocompromised, how do I get a third dose?

ATAGI has outlined specific criteria on who is considered severely immunocompromised and recommended for a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The criteria can be found on ATAGI’s website (external site).

The best approach is to discuss this with your GP or treating specialist who best understands your health history.

You can provide your proof of eligibility (i.e. the immunocompromised condition) at the clinic.

Evidence can include a:

  • letter from your doctor
  • medical record print out (e.g. MyHealth Record, hospital discharge summary, care plan, prescription etc.
  • condition-specific identifier, or
  • signed Eligibility Declaration Form (external site) if you cannot provide the specified evidence of your eligibility. You can print and bring a signed copy of this form to the clinic, or these forms will be available to complete when you register at the clinic.

I’ve had COVID-19, do I still need to get COVID-19 vaccinations?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends that all people should wait for 3 months after confirmed COVID-19 infection before they receive their next COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The next scheduled dose should then be given as soon as possible after this period.

Waiting for a 3-month period after infection before COVID-19 vaccination is intended to optimise protection as a longer gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

This change in recommendation applies to all people who are recommended to receive COVID-19 vaccination (i.e., from 5 years and above), regardless of how many COVID-19 vaccine doses they have received.

Learn more about vaccination after testing positive for COVID-19 on the additional clinical considerations for COVID-19 vaccination page on the Australian Government Department of Health website (external site).

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination

How can I show proof of my COVID-19 vaccinations?

To enter premises of mandated occupations/workforces (external site) under the Public Health Act 2008.

The following forms of evidence can be used to show your COVID-19 vaccinations to access a mandated workplace:

  • COVID-19 digital certificate (external site), with an acceptable form of ID, shows only your COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Immunisation history statement (external site), with an acceptable form of ID, shows your COVID-19 vaccinations and all other vaccinations you have had.
  • Written confirmation of vaccination issued by the Department of Health, with an acceptable form of ID
    • Confirmation or aftercare emails will only be sent to people who have provided a valid email address and have received their COVID-19 vaccination at a State-run vaccination clinic using VaccinateWA.
    • You may need to provide multiple emails to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated.
    • These emails are only considered an approved form of evidence in WA.

To enter premises, venues and events where proof of vaccination is required under the Emergency Management Act 2005

In addition to the above listed ways to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, the following apps can also be used to show your COVID-19 vaccinations when entering specific premises, venues or events:

Identification will also be required to support your proof of vaccination if you do not use the ServiceWA or Medicare Express Plus app.

I have a temporary exemption from the Office of the Chief Health Officer for work. Can I use this exemption to enter a venue which is requiring proof of vaccination?

No, a temporary exemption issued by the Office of the Chief Health Officer is a specific exemption to allow you to continue working and applies only to the specific Directions it was issued under.

The Office of the Chief Health Officer cannot issue temporary exemptions under the Proof of Vaccination Directions, which require proof of vaccination to be shown at certain venues listed on the WA Government website.

Under the Proof of Vaccination Directions, the only accepted proof of vaccination exemption is a medical exemption.

Can I use an international COVID-19 vaccination certificate as proof?

Yes. Vaccination certificates that are accepted by the Australian Government for travel into Australia will also be accepted at mandated workplaces and businesses, venues and events in WA.

Visit the Proof of COVID-19 vaccinations (external site) page for more information.

Where can I get extra help?

Visit Services Australia website How to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccine website (external site) for detailed guidance on getting proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations if:

  • you are not eligible for Medicare
  • cannot get your proof online, or
  • have received an overseas vaccination.
COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy/breastfeeding

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

Yes. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) recommended that pregnant women of all ages receive the Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines at any stage of pregnancy.

Pregnant women are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination with these mRNA vaccines and are encouraged to discuss the decision in relation to timing of vaccination with their health professional. Women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.

Pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness if they are infected with COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant women with COVID-19 of the same age. There is also an increased risk of complications for the baby during pregnancy.

This includes an increased risk of:

  • hospitalisation
  • admission to an intensive care unit
  • invasive ventilation
  • stillbirth, and
  • premature birth.

For more information read the  RANZOG advice on Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination (external site)COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy (external site) and the ATAGI Clinical Guidance on COVID-19 vaccines in Australia (external site)

Should women who are breastfeeding get vaccinated?

Yes. If you are breastfeeding, it is preferable for you to have an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (i.e. the Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines). The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are the preferred vaccines for people aged under 60 years. 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) and the RANZOG advice on Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination (external site). This will be updated as more vaccines are registered for use in Australia.

I am pregnant and have had one dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Should I receive the same vaccine for my second dose?

Pregnant women who received a first dose of Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) COVID-19 vaccine can receive either an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines) or the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) COVID-19 vaccine for their second dose, although an mRNA vaccine is preferred.

COVID-19 vaccination for children and adolescents

Can children and adolescents get the COVID-19 vaccine?

All Western Australians aged 5 years and over are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Which vaccines are being offered to children and adolescents?

12 years and over: the Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines are currently being offered to this age group. Two doses of the vaccines are required for optimal protection.

  • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine – two doses are given at least 8 weeks apart.
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine – two doses at least 8 weeks apart.

The paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available for 5-11 year olds and paediatric Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is available for 6-11-year olds. Two doses of the vaccines are required for optimal protection.

  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine – two doses are given eight weeks apart. The interval can be shortened to a minimum of four weeks, for children at risk of moderate to severe COVID-19 in special circumstances (as outlined in ATAGI Clinical guidance on the use of COVID-19 vaccines).

The Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and Nuvaxoid (Novavax) vaccines are not recommended for children and adolescents.

Why are children and adolescents being offered the COVID-19 vaccine? Why should young people get vaccinated?

Vaccination of young people provides direct protection against COVID-19 illness. This protects others and helps reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Millions of children and adolescents around the world have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. For example:

  • In the United States, around 45 per cent of 12-15 year olds have had their first dose of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Among US adolescents 16-17 years of age, around 58 per cent have had their first dose of Comirnaty (Pfizer) and 43 per cent are fully vaccinated.
  • In Israel, around 40 per cent of 12-15 year olds have had their first dose of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine.
  • In Canada, around 76 per cent of 12-17 year olds have had their first dose of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 59 per cent are fully vaccinated.
  • As of early December 2021, over 4.8 million children aged 5-11 years have received at least one dose of the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, and over 1.4 million have received 2 doses.

Learn more about ATAGI recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in all young adolescents in Australia (external site).

How do I know the Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children and adolescents? What testing has been completed?

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

Are the vaccines effective in young people?

Yes. Clinical trials of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccines and the Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine show evidence of strong vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19 in children and adolescents.

How can 5-11 year olds get vaccinated?

Appointments for children aged 5-11 years can be booked by a parent or legal guardian through:

Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to discuss childhood COVID-19 vaccination with their GP.

  • State-run vaccination clinics: While most State-run clinics will accept walk-ins for the paediatric COVID-19 vaccine, bookings are recommended for this age group.
  • Online at VaccinateWA, registered as a dependant under the VaccinateWA (external site) account of a parent or legal guardian. Instructions on how to book a dependant online are available in the VaccinateWA FAQs.
  • By phone on 13COVID (13 268 43), if the parent or legal guardian does not have a VaccinateWA (external site) account, 13 COVID can register them and then register a dependant.

Children with specified medical conditions are recommended to get vaccinated by their GP, as they have a good understanding of their medical needs.

How can 12-15 year olds get vaccinated?

Appointments for children aged 12-15 years can be booked by a parent or legal guardian through:

  • GPs, GP respiratory clinics, pharmacies or Aboriginal Medical Services: find a participating provider in your area through the Vaccine Clinic Finder (external site), or;
  • a State-run vaccination clinic either:
    • Online at VaccinateWA, registered as a dependant under the VaccinateWA (external site) account of a parent or legal guardian. Instructions on how to book a dependant online are available in the VaccinateWA FAQs
    • By phone on 13COVID (13 268 43), if the parent or legal guardian does not have a VaccinateWA (external site) account, 13 COVID can register them and then register a dependant.

Children with specified medical conditions are recommended to get vaccinated by their GP, as they have a good understanding of their medical needs.

How can 16 and 17 year olds get vaccinated?

People aged 16-17 years can book to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through:

  • GPs, GP respiratory clinics, pharmacies or Aboriginal Medical Services: find a participating provider in your area through the Vaccine Clinic Finder (external site), or;
  • a State-run vaccination clinic:
    • Online at VaccinateWA (external site) if they have a valid email address, or
    • By phone on 13 COVID (13 268 43) if they do not have a valid email address, or if they need assistance.

What happens when parents do not agree on vaccinating a child or dependant?

A parent or legal guardian must provide consent for a child or dependant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, where the child is not considered to be a mature minor. The COVID-19 vaccination consent form (PDF 252KB) requires the signature of one parent or legal guardian for vaccination of a child or dependant to proceed, or consent must be provided verbally over the phone.

Where there is joint custody of a child or dependant, and the parents have differing views on whether the child or dependant should be vaccinated, the parents are advised to speak with their GP or medical practitioner to reach a joint decision.

Where the parents cannot reach a joint decision, the matter can be assessed in court to decide what is in the child or dependant’s best interests.

What happens if there is a court order in place for a child or dependant?

Where a court order is in place for a child or dependant and the legal responsibility for health care rests with one parent only, consent to receive the COVID-19 vaccine must be provided by the designated parent.

My child has a disability/need additional support, where can they get vaccinated?

For people in the metropolitan area, the Claremont Showgrounds (external site), Carramar (external site), Kwinana (external site), and Midland (external site) community vaccination clinics are specially designed Enhanced Access and Sensory Clinics, each having rooms to support people with disability, people who have mental health conditions, those who require a low sensory environment, or who may need other additional support to receive their vaccinations.

Therapy dogs can be requested and booked in advance to attend your appointment at these selected clinics.

Bookings are essential for the Sensory Clinics. To book, fill in the fill out the Further Assistance Required (external site) online form or call 13 COVID (13 268 43).

Most state-run vaccination clinics can accommodate people who may need to lie down when receiving a vaccination Most of these clinics also have enclosed/private vaccination spaces where a support person can also attend the appointment and have ACROD car parking bays close to the clinic entrance.

The Australian Government also has established Disability Vaccination Hubs in WA. A number of the hubs have been established in collaboration with disability service providers. The list is regularly updated so stay up-to-date with the closest location to you (external site).

Learn more on the Vaccine information for people with a disability or require additional support (external site) webpage, fill out the Further Assistance Required (external site) online form or call 13 COVID (13 268 43).

COVID-19 vaccine consent for 5-15 year olds

Can 5-15 year-olds give their own consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

No. in most circumstances, for the booking and administration of COVID-19 vaccines through the state-run vaccination clinics, GP's and pharmacies, a parent or legal guardian must provide consent for this age group.

In some special circumstances, a child aged 12-15 years of age may not have a parent or adult present and wish to seek a vaccination. If the health practitioner assesses the child and judges them to be a mature minor, the child may consent to, and receive, a COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information, see the WA Health Consent to Treatment Policy (external site).

How can a parent or legal guardian provide valid consent for a 5-15 year-old?

If the child has been registered and booked in through VaccinateWA (external site), the parent or legal guardian will receive a booking confirmation email advising them to:

Parental or legal guardian consent must be provided and confirmed before a vaccine can be administered.

Does an adult need to attend a clinic with a 5-15 year old?

Yes, in most circumstances a 5-15 year old must be accompanied by:

In some special circumstances, a child aged 12-15 years of age may not have a parent or adult present and wish to seek a vaccination. If the health practitioner assesses the child and judges them to be a mature minor, the child may consent to, and receive, a COVID-19 vaccination.

What if a parent or legal guardian cannot attend the clinic on the day of the 5-15 year old’s vaccination?

If a parent or legal guardian is not present for the appointment, a signed COVID-19 vaccination consent form must be presented. Alternatively, the parent or legal guardian may provide verbal consent over the phone at the time of vaccination when phoned by the nurse.

If consent by a parent or legal guardian cannot be obtained on the day, the 5-15 year old child cannot be vaccinated.

If the child attends the clinic with proof of consent, but without their parent or legal guardian, they must still be accompanied by a person aged 18 years and over.

In some special circumstances, a child aged 12-15 years of age may not have a parent or adult present and wish to seek a vaccination. If the health practitioner assesses the child and judges them to be a mature minor, the child may consent to, and receive, a COVID-19 vaccination.

How can a parent or legal guardian provide consent for 12-15 year olds to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through a school-based vaccination program?

Parents and legal guardians of children aged 12-15 must sign a consent form. Without a signed consent form, children will not be vaccinated.

Parents and legal guardians should register their dependants under their VaccinateWA account ahead of the school-based vaccination program.

If the parent or legal guardian does not have an existing VaccinateWA account, they can create one at the VaccinateWA login page and complete the initial ‘My Contact Details’ step at a minimum. A dependant can then be registered under their account.

For step-by-step instructions on how to register a dependant, please refer to the online booking (VaccinateWA) FAQs. 

The school will provide consent forms to parents for completion. The COVID-19 vaccination consent form (PDF 252KB) form is also available on the HealthyWA website for parents or legal guardians to download, print and sign.

There is no school-based COVID-19 vaccine program for children aged 5-11 years old as we know many parents would prefer to take their children to a GP as they do for other childhood immunisations. 

What is ‘valid consent’?

For consent to be valid, it must be:

  • Voluntary - It must be given by the patient themselves and must not be unduly influenced by the health practitioner, friends or family.
  • Informed - It must be given after the potential risks and benefits of the relevant vaccine, the risks of not having it, and any alternative options have been explained to the person.
  • Given by a person with capacity – It must be given by a person with the intellectual and emotional capacity to understand the information presented to them and make reasonable judgements about receiving the vaccine.
  • Specific to the treatment – The consent must cover the treatment to be performed.
  • Current – The consent must be reviewed if the person’s views, circumstances (e.g. adverse reaction to previous dose) or ability to meet the above criteria have changed.

Can a 5-15 year old refuse a COVID-19 vaccination that a parent or legal guardian has previously provided consent for?

Yes. in most circumstances, if a child or an adolescent does not want to be vaccinated, they do not have to, even if their parent or guardian has given consent for them to have the vaccine.

The wishes of the individual will be respected, and the parent or legal guardian will be told that the immunisation was not completed for this reason.

For younger children, obtaining consent may be more difficult and will often fall to the parent or legal guardian. However, the vaccination provider will involve the child in the consent process and explain, in an age-appropriate manner, the reason for the vaccination and the process to gain consent.

For more information, see the WA Health Consent to Treatment Policy (external site).

Can a 5-15 year old request a COVID-19 vaccination that a parent or legal guardian has not provided consent for?

In most situations, if a child aged 5-15 wants to get the COVID-19 vaccine and the parent or legal guardian has not provided consent, it is recommended that the child discuss the matter with a GP or health practitioner.

In some special circumstances, a child aged 12-15 years of age may not have a parent or adult present and wish to seek a vaccination. If the health practitioner assesses the child and judges them to be a mature minor, the child may consent to, and receive, a COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information, see the WA Health Consent to Treatment Policy (external site).

COVID-19 vaccine consent for 16-17 year olds

Can 16 and 17 year olds give their own consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. In most cases, people aged 16-17 years have the intellectual capacity to provide valid consent. People aged 16-17 are likely to be judged mature minors by health professionals, unless other factors limit their capacity (e.g. an intellectual or mental disability).

People aged 16-17 can provide their own written consent online to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, when they book an appointment through VaccinateWA (external site).

On the day of their appointment they will be assessed by the health professional prior to receiving the vaccine. The health professional will determine the person’s maturity and whether they have the intellectual and emotional capacity to consent or decline treatment as a mature minor.

If the person is judged to be a mature minor, their consent will be confirmed, and they can receive the vaccine.

If a 16-17 year old wants to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through a school-based clinic or visit a state-run vaccination clinic with the school, they will need to provide a consent form signed by their parent or guardian.

For more information, see the WA Health Consent to Treatment Policy (external site).

Does an adult need to attend a clinic with a 16-17 year old?

No, not if the 16-17 year old has been judged to be a mature minor at their appointment. They can attend the vaccination clinic by themselves or with friends or family.

However, if a 16-17 year old is not judged to be a mature minor at their appointment, they will not be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine without written consent from a parent or legal guardian and an accompanying adult.

A parent or guardian can download and print the COVID-19 vaccination consent form (PDF 252KB) and sign it for 16-17 year olds who require written consent. An adult will need to accompany a 16-17 year old to their appointment if they have not been judged to be a mature minor. 

What is valid consent?

For consent to be valid, it must be:

  • Voluntary - It must be given by the patient themselves and must not be unduly influenced by the health practitioner, friends or family.
  • Informed - It must be given after the potential risks and benefits of the relevant vaccine, the risks of not having it, and any alternative options have been explained to the person.
  • Given by a person with capacity – It must be given by a person with the intellectual and emotional capacity to understand the information presented to them and make reasonable judgements about receiving the vaccine.
  • Specific to the treatment – The consent must cover the treatment to be performed.
  • Current – The consent must be reviewed if the person’s views, circumstances (e.g. adverse reaction to previous dose) or ability to meet the above criteria have changed.

Can a 16-17 year old refuse a COVID-19 vaccination that a parent or legal guardian has previously provided consent for?

Yes. If a 16-17 year old, who has been assessed as a mature minor, does not want to be vaccinated, they do not have to – even if their parent or guardian has given consent for them to have the vaccine.

The wishes of the individual will be respected, and the parent or guardian will be told that the immunisation was not completed for this reason.

For more information, see the WA Health Consent to Treatment Policy (external site).

COVID-19 vaccine and overseas travel

How do I record COVID-19 vaccinations I received overseas?

If you received an approved COVID-19 vaccine overseas (external site), you can have it recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) when you return to Australia.

You can ask a registered vaccination provider (like a GP or pharmacy) to record your COVID-19 vaccinations on the AIR. You will need to provide documentation in English of your vaccination. A free translating service (external site) is available if you need help to translate your document. If you need an interpreter, please call the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450.

If you’ve received mixed doses of approved vaccines overseas, you can also have these recorded to the AIR.

Once they’ve been added, you’ll be able to use your COVID-19 digital certificate or immunisation history statement as proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations.

Learn more about adding overseas vaccinations (external site).

COVID-19 vaccine safety and side effects

For additional information visit COVID-19 vaccine safety and side effects.

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).

Developing and licensing a vaccine has in the past taken a decade or longer, but some COVID-19 vaccines have been registered and used within 12 months of the virus being discovered.

Some of the reasons behind this rapid progress include:

  • Unprecedented funding and collaboration between vaccine developers and governments around the world. Financial risks have been taken, such as building manufacturing facilities before a vaccine is even available.
  • Technology has evolved to make vaccine development faster than in the past. Previously, viral vaccines could only be developed after growing the virus in a lab, which takes time. Newer technologies build vaccines using the genetic code for the virus, so researchers around the world were able to start their work as soon as the genome for the virus was released in January 2020.
  • 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.
  • Large clinical trials also progress more quickly if a disease is widespread, as is the case with COVID-19. A significant difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated groups can be detected sooner in these very large populations.

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.

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

The COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia are very effective. Clinical trials and real-world evidence have found that the vaccines are 70 to 95 per cent effective in preventing people from getting sick with COVID-19.

This means people who are fully vaccinated are 70 to 95 per cent less likely to get sick with COVID-19 compared with those who are not vaccinated, if they’re exposed to the virus.

There are no vaccines, for any disease, that are 100 per cent effective, and some fully vaccinated people may still get the disease. This doesn’t mean the vaccines aren’t working. Booster doses are also important in helping to increase and maintain protection. Source: Healthdirect (external site)

Do you give expired or defective vaccines?

No. WA Health closely monitors all the vaccines, so no one receives a vaccine that is expired or defective.

Each batch of vaccine that arrives in Australia is checked by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) before the vaccines are used. You can see the data about each batch at the TGA website (external site).

Is the vaccine safe if I have allergies?

Almost everyone can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes people with a history of severe allergies or anaphylaxis to food, drugs, venom, or latex and those with allergic conditions, including asthma, eczema or hay fever.

If you have had anaphylaxis (a type of severe allergic reaction) to a particular type of COVID-19 vaccine or to an ingredient in a vaccine, then you should not have a COVID-19 vaccine. You may be able to have an alternative COVID-19 vaccine.

Your immunisation provider will ask you about any potential allergies prior to vaccination and decide how best to manage your situation.

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

Additional precautions are currently recommended for people with a history of anaphylaxis to previous vaccines and/or multiple drugs, such as consulting an allergy specialist or staying for 30 minutes of observation in a facility with medical staff.

These precautions apply to people who:

  • have had a suspected allergic reaction after a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • have had an allergic reaction (but not anaphylaxis) to an ingredient of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • have had anaphylaxis to other vaccines or to medications (including injectable or oral medications) where there may be common ingredients with a COVID-19 vaccine
  • people with a history of confirmed mastocytosis (a mast cell disorder) with recurrent anaphylaxis, and who require treatment for this condition.

Your immunisation provider will ask you about any potential allergies prior to vaccination and decide how best to manage your situation.

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 very uncommon for people to have anaphylaxis or a serious allergic reaction to COVID-19 vaccines. However, if you did experience a serious allergic reaction to the first dose of COVID-19 vaccination, you should be referred to a specialist immunology or vaccination clinic for further assessment. Decisions around your second dose should be dependent upon that discussion.

The specialist may recommend an alternate brand for the second dose.

Is the vaccine safe for those with chronic medical conditions?

People with chronic medical conditions are recommended to get the vaccine, as they are at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19.

If you have a bleeding disorder or you are taking a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant), tell your immunisation provider.

Can I have a COVID-19 vaccine if I am immunocompromised?

The COVID-19 vaccine is highly recommended for people who are immunocompromised because of their increased risk of severe illness with COVID-19.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends a third dose as part of the primary course of vaccination for people who are severely immunocompromised. Further information is available in the ATAGI recommendations on the use of a third primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised (external site).

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

If you are taking an immune-weakening treatment (immunosuppressant/immunomodulator), including chemotherapy, you should discuss the best timing of vaccination with your treating doctor.

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

Do COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?

No, none of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or under review by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) cause infertility.

The TGA will not approve a vaccine for use in Australia unless it is safe and effective (external site). This includes impacts on fertility.

The theory that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility is based on the disproven idea that one of the spike proteins in COVID-19 and the Syncytin-1 protein (which helps placental development) are the same. They are not.

There is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of ANY vaccine.

Women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.

In line with guidance from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) it is recommended that pregnant women receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (the Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines) at any stage of pregnancy.

For more information read the COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy (external site).

COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness

Is the vaccine effective?

Clinical trial and real-world experience for the approved COVID-19 vaccines have shown they are safe and effective in preventing symptomatic illness including severe COVID-19 disease and hospitalisation

How will a vaccine prevent COVID-19 illness?

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 the chances of getting COVID-19 illness if they encounter the coronavirus.

How long does protection from the vaccine last?

At this stage, it is uncertain how long protection against COVID-19 will last. However, the available data suggest that protection against severe COVID-19 illness and death provided by vaccination is more durable than that provided against mild disease. Given the ongoing transmission of both Omicron and Delta variants, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends COVID-19 booster vaccination for anyone aged 16 years and older who completed their primary course of COVID-19 vaccination 3 or more months ago.

A third (primary) dose of COVID-19 vaccine is also recommended for anyone, 5 years and over, with immunocompromising conditions, a minimum of 2 months after their second dose.

It is still important to continue practising good hygiene, physical distancing and other COVID-safe recommendations, after you have been vaccinated.

Will the vaccines be effective against different strains (including the Omicron and Delta strains)?

Currently approved vaccines have been shown to be effective to provide strong protection against new variants as these vaccines work to create a broad immune response. The mutations causing these variants should not make the vaccines ineffective.

More information about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia can be found on the Australian Government website (external site).

COVID-19 vaccine mythbusters

Read the COVID-19 vaccine FAQs for Aboriginal people (PDF 1.2MB).

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)

Will the vaccine alter my DNA?

The vaccine does not change DNA.

The COVID-19 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. This process does not alter your DNA in any way.

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)

COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines – including influenza (flu) vaccines

Do I need to have both the influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, influenza and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses and so need different vaccines.

It is recommended to get the influenza vaccine in readiness for the influenza season. This will minimise the possibility of contracting both influenza and COVID-19 infection at the same time and provide greater protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why do I need the influenza vaccination if I have had all my COVID-19 vaccinations?

Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Therefore, they need different vaccines.

The COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against influenza, so you should still have an influenza vaccine.

If I have COVID-19, is it safe for me to get the influenza vaccine?

It is best to wait until you have fully recovered from COVID-19 before getting the influenza vaccine.

For further information, contact your immunisation provider.

Can I have my COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations at the same time?

Yes, you can now get your influenza vaccination at the same time as your COVID-19 vaccination (co-administered on the same day) as advised by the Australian Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI)).

Studies show that co-administration of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines is safe and produces
a good immune response.

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

Speak with your immunisation provider to check what is right for you.

Can the influenza vaccine increase my chances of getting COVID-19 or produce a false positive COVID-19 test result?

COVID-19 and influenza are different viruses. There is no evidence to show that influenza vaccination can increase your risk of contracting COVID-19. There is also no evidence to suggest that influenza vaccination could cause a false positive on a COVID-19 test.

If you have any concerns about influenza vaccination, speak to your GP or immunisation provider.

Read more about the influenza vaccine.

Last reviewed: 20-05-2022

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.

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