Preparing for your COVID-19 vaccination

Changes to ACT Government COVID-19 vaccination clinics (3 May)

From 3 May, the ACT Government COVID-19 vaccination clinics are opening appointments to all people in phase 1a and 1b, and people aged 50 years and over. Eligible people can now book an appointment online or by calling us.

Rescheduling your COVID-19 vaccination appointment

If you are booked in to get the vaccine at an ACT Government COVID-19 vaccination clinic, but cannot make it to your appointment, please cancel or reschedule using MyDHR or by filling in the appointment cancellation form.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary.

As with all vaccines, you need to give your informed consent before each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Informed consent means that you have been given information about the benefits and risks of the specific vaccine you are going to receive, and you agree for the immunisation provider to give you the vaccine.

To make sure you provide informed consent for the COVID-19 vaccine, please read the following information from the Australian Government Department of Health before your vaccination appointment.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination

Please ensure you wait at least 14 days after receiving a dose of any vaccination, like the flu vaccine, before you get  a COVID-19 vaccine. This is a precautionary recommendation that allows for proper safety and monitoring of vaccines.

On the day of vaccination

  • Arrive to check in 15 minutes before your appointment time.
  • Bring your Medicare card, if you have one.
  • Try and avoid bringing friends or family members to the appointment, if possible. The clinic has limited waiting room space.

If you are booked in to get the vaccine at an ACT Government clinic, but cannot make it to your appointment, please cancel or reschedule using the appointment cancellation form.

After your vaccination

After your vaccination, you are required to stay in the clinic and be supervised for at least 15 minutes to ensure you have no reactions.

You will be invited to scan a QR code to enrol into AusVaxSafety – Australia’s active vaccine safety system.

If you  agree, you will be asked to participate in a quick survey via a text to inform the vaccine safety monitoring program.

Use the COVID-19 vaccine side effects symptom checker if you have concerns about any symptoms after your vaccine. The checker is also available through the National Coronavirus Helpline, 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day.

Visit the What happens after I am vaccinated for COVID-19 page on the Australian Government Department of Health website for more information.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between the Pfizer vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Different companies have produced these vaccines using different techniques.

However, both vaccines instruct our immune system to make antibodies to the spike protein of the virus.

They are both effective and offer strong protection against COVID-19.

How many doses of the vaccine do I need?

Two doses (injections) of the vaccine are required for protection.

How long does it take for the vaccine to start working?

After your first dose, you will need a second dose of the vaccine to complete the vaccination schedule.

It is important that you receive two doses of the same vaccine.

You may not be protected against COVID-19 until 7-14 days after your second dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine.

Because of this, you can still become ill prior to this time and infect others around you, so you should continue COVID safe practices.

How long will protection last following vaccination?

The results from the clinical trials to date have shown both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines to be effective in providing protection against COVID-19 and preventing severe disease.

Researchers are currently exploring how long this effectiveness lasts.

Clinical trials are currently happening to find out if we will need booster doses on an annual or longer basis.

To be fully vaccinated in the initial vaccine roll out, a person must have two doses of the same vaccine, given at the appropriate dosing schedule.

How much does the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone who wants to get vaccinated in Australia.

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

If your vaccination provider charges for any costs associated with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination (including booking fees), you should:

You should book a separate appointment for health issues that do not relate to COVID-19 vaccination. If you consult your GP for issues not about the COVID-19 vaccination, you will be charged their normal fee for that.

Your GP will let you know that you will receive a separate bill, and will make sure you agree to any associated costs and payments.

Can I still get the vaccine for free if I do not have a Medicare Card or I am not an Australian resident?

Everyone in Australia will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine.

Should I still get the vaccine if I’m feeling unwell on the day?

If you have a fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting or nausea, loss of smell and or taste:

  • get tested
  • stay home and isolate until you get the results and your symptoms resolve.
How long do I need to wait before getting my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

It depends on the vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine doses should be given three weeks (21 days) apart.

If you receive the Pfizer vaccine, you should get your second dose on or after the recommended three-week interval.

The AstraZeneca vaccine also requires two doses, given four to 12 weeks apart.

Doses given 12 weeks apart will provide the most effective clinical protection.

We will provide further detail about how to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the ACT over the coming months.

Stay up to date so you’ll know what to do when it’s your turn to get vaccinated.

What happens if I miss the second dose of the vaccine?

You need both doses to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Without both doses you will still be susceptible to the virus.

Can I still spread COVID-19 after being vaccinated?

We don’t yet know whether getting the vaccine stops you from spreading COVID-19 to someone else.

That’s why it’s still important to continue taking COVID-19 prevention measures, like physical distancing, even after you’ve been vaccinated.

Will the vaccine protect me against all strains of COVID-19?

Clinical trials, so far, are showing that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines induce antibodies that can respond to a variety of mutations.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will continue to closely monitor developments and do its own genetic examination of local cases.

It is unclear yet how long protection will last after getting two doses of the vaccine.

We will continue to update our website as new information is available following COVID-19 vaccine research.

Will I be required to get vaccinated for work?

The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory. It’s free for everyone who wants to get vaccinated.

We strongly encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated to protect themselves and our community.

There may be circumstances in the future, however where there may be border entry or re-entry requirements that are conditional on proof of vaccination.

If I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Even if you’ve had COVID-19, you should still have the vaccine.

This will help protect you against getting COVID-19 again or passing it onto someone else.

If you’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, you may have some natural immunity to contracting the disease again.

However, the protection someone gains from having COVID-19 varies from person to person.

And because this virus is new, it’s not clear how long natural immunity might last.

Australia has been fortunate in having low numbers of COVID-19 infections and this means that the community as a whole has no immunity.

This is why vaccination is so important to protect people from severe disease.

Will I still need to practise COVID safe behaviours if I’ve been vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccination is not a cure-all or a complete substitute for safe behaviour.

It should supplement other public health rules and guidelines.

It’s important to continue to take other COVID-19 prevention measures, even after you’ve been vaccinated, like:

  • washing your hands regularly
  • practising physical distancing
  • getting tested and isolating if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.
Are the vaccines safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women?

For more information about the vaccines for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, please visit the Frequently asked questions page.

Do COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?

There is no scientific evidence to support this. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently under review by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) cause sterilisation/infertility.

The TGA will not approve a vaccine for use in Australia unless it is safe and effective. 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 help placenta development) are the same. They are not.

The COVID-19 vaccine, like other vaccines, works by training our bodies to develop antibodies to fight against the virus that causes COVID-19, to prevent future illness.

There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta.

In addition, there is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of ANY vaccine.

People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has also provided advice for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy.

Can children get the COVID-19 vaccine?

At this stage, neither the Pfizer nor AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have approval for use in children from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Australia’s medical regulator.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is provisionally approved by the TGA for patients 16 years and older.

This is because there are limited clinical trial results showing that the vaccines are effective and safe in these age groups. There are plans for clinical trials with children underway. To date there is no evidence to indicate that in the future children should not be able to receive both of these vaccines.

The TGA will monitor the vaccines and when more evidence becomes available they will review this and make recommendations then.

Can I mix COVID-19 vaccines?

No.

You will need two doses of the same vaccine to be properly vaccinated because they deliver instructions to our immune response in different ways.

Who gets my personal details for the COVID vaccine and how will this information be used?

ACT Health will use your personal details for the purposes of program safety and disease surveillance.

Your personal details will also be provided to the Australian Immunisation Register, as required by Australian Government law.

Where will my vaccination information be recorded?

The Australian Immunisation Register will retain a formal record of all vaccinations.

Can I choose which vaccine I get?

No, you cannot choose which vaccine you get. We are also unable to accept referrals at this stage requesting a specific vaccine.

Please see Can I choose which vaccine I get on our Frequently asked questions page.

acknowledgement icon
Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: May 07 2021