COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is underway in Queensland

Just as there are vaccines to help protect you against diseases like measles, chicken pox or the flu, there is a vaccine that will help protect you against COVID-19. The free COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out to Queenslanders in phases, prioritising our most vulnerable people first. Find out when it’s your turn to receive the vaccine.

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Questions and Answers about COVID-19

Why vaccination is important

It is important to have a COVID-19 vaccine as it helps to reduce the serious effects of COVID-19 in people who become infected with the virus.

It will also reduce the need for preventive measures, such as border closures and travel restrictions, as well as the impacts on health and the economy.

Vaccines are the most effective way to protect against infectious diseases.

They do this by strengthening your immune system by training it to recognise and fight against specific viruses.

When you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and helping to protect the whole community.

Once enough people in the community are vaccinated, it slows down the spread of disease. Higher vaccination rates make outbreaks far less likely.

When a high proportion of the community is vaccinated against a disease, it creates herd immunity.

This means that enough people are immunised to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases to protect those who can’t be vaccinated.

Experts believe a herd immunity of 65% or higher will be needed for COVID-19, but there is ongoing research to determine this further.

Vaccine safety

Before the COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in Australia, it was approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The TGA assesses the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccines before they are registered for use in Australia.

This process is amongst one of the most thorough in the world.

There are different types of vaccines, and they use slightly different methods, but they have a similar effect.

They prime your body’s immune system to be ready to fight an infection, by exposing it to dead or weakened versions of the virus or bacteria, or selected bits of it.

It is important to understand that the COVID-19 vaccine will not infect you with the COVID-19 virus, because the vaccine does not contain live COVID-19 virus.

The vaccine is designed to trigger our immune system to make antibodies to the spike protein of the virus. This means if you were to ever get the COVID-19 virus, your body is better prepared to fight the illness.

During development, vaccines are tested on thousands of volunteers through a number of phased trials which are designed to assess the vaccine for safety and side effects, and must demonstrate:

  • how the vaccine works
  • that the vaccine prompts an effective immune response in different people
  • that the vaccine is effective in preventing the general population from getting the disease

There are three clinical phases and no testing phase has been skipped during the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Some of the testing phases have been combined or run at the same time to help test the COVID-19 vaccine quickly and make it available as soon as possible.

Only vaccines that are approved by the TGA will be provided in Australia, including the COVID-19 vaccine.

You must not get a COVID-19 vaccine if you have had any of the following:

  • Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
  • Anaphylaxis after exposure to any ingredient of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis to anything else, including after receiving a vaccine, you can still get the vaccine, but you must tell the immunisation provider beforehand.

If you are breastfeeding you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at any time. You do not need to stop breastfeeding before or after vaccination.

At this stage, the COVID-19 vaccine is not routinely recommended to be given during pregnancy as there is limited research on the use of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women. As we learn more about the vaccine, this advice may change.

If you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before you receive this vaccine.

Vaccine effectiveness

No. The vaccines do not contain the live virus itself. Each vaccine is designed so you won’t get the disease you are being protected against.

No. After you receive your first dose of the vaccine you should have some protection from COVID-19 after about 2 weeks. But it is important that every person who receives a COVID-19 vaccine receive the full two-dose course of a vaccine.

Your immunisation provider or GP will be able to provide advice on when you should receive your second dose.

All medicines and vaccines can cause side effects. If you do experience any side effects, most of them are minor and temporary.

However, some side effects may need medical attention. Read about potential COVID-19 vaccine side effects.

The potential for an adverse event, such as an allergic reaction following vaccination for people with a history of severe allergies, is well known. This is why it is standard protocol to closely monitor anybody in this situation for 30 minutes after their vaccination.

However, you must not get a COVID-19 vaccine if you have had any of the following:

  • Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
  • Anaphylaxis after exposure to any ingredient of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis to anything else, including after receiving a vaccine, you can still get the vaccine, but you must tell the immunisation provider beforehand.

COVID-19 and influenza

Yes. As always, all Queenslanders will be encouraged to have their flu vaccination in the lead up to flu season.

You should wait at least 14 days between having the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine.

No. There is no clinical evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccines react with any other vaccine.

However, to be safe, experts have suggested waiting at least 14 days between having the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccination booking and appointment

  • The vaccine rollout will happen in 5 stages. People at higher risk of COVID-19 will be able to get the vaccine early.
  • Complete this Vaccine Eligibility Checker to find out when it will be your turn to get the vaccine. If you are eligible in the current stage, you will be able to access a list of vaccine clinics and book your appointment.
  • If you cannot complete this checker, speak with your doctor or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice.

1. The vaccine will be given as an injection, into your upper arm muscle. If possible, wear a short sleeve shirt to make it easier.

2. You must bring the following to your COVID-19 vaccination appointment:

  • Photo ID
  • Your Medicare card, if you have one
  • Employee ID
  • Information about any of your medical conditions
  • Information about any medications you are taking
  • Information about any vaccine you have had in the past 14 days
  • Information about any previous COVID-19 vaccine you may have been given

3. When you get to your appointment you need to let your immunisation provider know if you:

  • Have any severe allergies, particularly anaphylaxis (to anything), or carry or have been prescribed an adrenaline autoinjector (e.g. EpiPen™).
  • Had a reaction to a vaccine in the past or ingredients of vaccines
  • Have any bleeding issues or are receiving anticoagulant therapy a blood thinner)
  • Are pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have any respiratory symptoms
  • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine
  • Have received any vaccine in the last 14 days

4. You must remain in the vaccination clinic for observation for at least 15 minutes after vaccination in case an allergic reaction occurs. If you have a history of severe allergy, you will be asked to wait in the clinic for 30 minutes.

You should not attend a COVID-19 vaccination appointment if you:

  • Are unwell with fever, cough, runny nose or other symptoms that could be from COVID-19
  • Are awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • Have tested positive with COVID-19 and you are in isolation
  • Are in quarantine.
  • Are a close contact of someone with COVID-19

If you fall into any of the above categories, you will need to reschedule your appointment for vaccination. If you need assistance with rescheduling your appointment call 134 COVID (13 42 68).

The COVID-19 vaccine is not effective at treating COVID-19. If you have had another vaccine in the 14 days before your COVID-19 vaccine appointment, tell your immunisation provider. They may ask you to reschedule your appointment. You are not required to test for COVID-19 before vaccination if you do not have a fever or any respiratory symptoms.

More information about COVID-19 vaccine

Find out if you’re able to receive your free COVID-19 vaccination, with the online checker.

Find your closest COVID-19 testing location or contact your local hospital.

Get up to date information on Queensland’s response to Covid-19.