Preparing for your COVID-19 vaccination

Provided you're feeling well and you’re not in isolation or quarantine, attend your COVID-19 vaccination appointment. If you can’t make it, reschedule or cancel your appointment.

Informed consent

Like all vaccinations, you need to give your informed consent before each dose of a 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 ensure you are well informed and can provide informed consent, read the following information before your COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

Informed consent for people under 18

If you are under 18, you may attend your COVID-19 vaccination appointment without a parent or guardian if you are confident that you:

  • understand the risks and benefits of vaccination, and
  • consent to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Your understanding will need to be confirmed by one of our clinicians before you can be vaccinated.

We prefer that younger people aged 12-15 attend our mass vaccination clinics with a parent or guardian.

This is to help ensure that consent can be given to the vaccine if you do not understand one of the questions asked, or advice given to you, when you attend.

If you are unsure and your parent or guardian cannot attend, you can bring a consent form with you that is already read and signed by your parent or guardian.

The consent form is available on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

More information about COVID-19 vaccines for teenagers, parents and guardians is available on the Australian Government Department of Health website, including tips on how to speak to kids about COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) COVID-19 vaccine

The Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) COVID-19 vaccine has been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for people 18 years and older.

Two doses (injections) of the COVID-19 vaccine are required for protection against serious illness serious related to COVID-19.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses should be given 12 weeks in non-outbreak settings.

In outbreak settings, the recommended interval between the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is between 4 to 8 weeks.

Therefore, people in an outbreak situation who received their first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca more than 4 weeks ago should contact their vaccine provider to arrange their second dose as soon as possible.

Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine

The Comirtnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine has been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for people 12 years and older.

Two doses (injections) of the COVID-19 vaccine are required for protection against serious illness serious related to COVID-19.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses should be given 3 to 6 weeks apart after the first dose.

Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine

The Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine has been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for people 12 years and older.

Two doses (injections) of the COVID-19 vaccine are required for protection against serious illness serious related to COVID-19.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses should be given 4 to 6 weeks apart.

On the day of vaccination

  • Arrive to check in at your appointment time.
  • Bring your ID and Medicare card, if you have one.
  • If you're attending an ACT Government vaccination clinic, please wear a surgical (single-use) mask.
Please ensure you wait at least 7 days between receiving a dose of any vaccination, like the flu vaccine, before you get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Bringing a support person

We encourage you to avoid bringing people to your vaccination appointment to help with physical distancing and other safety measures.

If you’re feeling nervous or anxious, be assured that our nursing staff are kind, friendly and can provide you with support during your appointment.

You can also have your support person on the phone with you during your vaccination and the recovery time.

If needed, you can bring a support person or family member with you to the appointment.

You can bring your young child(ren) if they are unable to be looked after by someone else, but please try to avoid this if you can.

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.

Some people will experience more significant flu-like symptoms from the vaccine compared to other common vaccinations and may need time away from normal activities.

For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, these symptoms are more common after the second dose.

For the AstraZeneca vaccine, these symptoms are more common after the first dose.

For more information, visit the What happens after I am vaccinated for COVID-19 page on the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

COVID-19 vaccine side effects symptom checker

People who get vaccinated may experience some mild side effects.

Common side effects include:

  • pain, redness and/or swelling near the injection site
  • headache
  • mild fever.

Serious reactions, like allergic reactions are extremely rare.

You can use the COVID-19 vaccine side effects symptom checker on the Healthdirect website if you have any concerns about any symptoms after your COVID-19 vaccination.

The checker is also available by calling the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. This line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The COVID-19 vaccine side effects symptom checker is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Always consult a medical professional for serious symptoms or emergencies.

For specific advice about side effects from the vaccine, ask your doctor or a healthcare professional.

If you have a reaction that you consider severe or unexpected, or you are concerned, seek medical advice as soon as possible, or go directly to hospital.

In the ACT all suspected adverse events following any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccine, must be notified to ACT Health.

All reported events and investigated and forwarded to the TGA.

The TGA will collate the data nationally allowing any rare or unknown adverse events to be detected

When you are vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, you may opt-in to a program called VaxTracker. This will mean your receive follow up SMS messages asking you about any side effects you may have experienced.

This is another way of ensuring the safety of the vaccine.

Frequently asked questions

Got a question on COVID-19 vaccines? Please see our COVID-19 vaccine frequently asked questions page.

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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: October 11 2021