Covid-19 Vaccine

Availability

We are currently booking appointments for the Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination.

We have Pfizer and Moderna available for Covid-19 Boosters.

From Monday 28th of February we will also have Novavax available for Covid-19 firsst and second doses.

Bookings are done online so the relevant forms can be completed.

 

Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine

From the 10th of January 2022, children aged 5 to 11 will be eligible receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) Covid-19 vaccination

People aged 12 to 59 are eligible to recieve the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) Covid-19 vaccination for their first dose. The second dose should be the same as the first.

Covid-19 Vaccine Boosters

Two doses of COVID-19 vaccine provide very good protection, especially against severe disease. A booster dose will make sure the protection from the first 2 doses is even stronger and longer lasting, and should help prevent spread of the virus.

A booster dose increases your protection against:

  • infection with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • severe disease
  • dying from COVID-19.

You are eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose if you:

  • are 16 years and older, and
  • completed your primary dose course of COVID-19 vaccination at least 3 months ago.

If you are 16 or 17 (or have turned 16 since you had your primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine) you can have the Pfizer vaccine as a booster dose.

If you are aged 18 years or older, you can have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster dose regardless of which vaccine you had for your first 2 doses.

Information about COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia

Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) is approved for use in people aged 18 years and over. 

The TGA provisionally approved it for use in Australia on 15 February 2021.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends the AstraZeneca vaccine for people:

  • aged 60 and over
  • aged 18 to 59 in outbreak areas, if they do not have immediate access to Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna).

If you are aged 18 to 59, you can choose to get protected with the AstraZeneca vaccine:

  • following an assessment by a qualified health professional
  • if you provide verbal or written consent.

In a large outbreak, ATAGI advises that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine are greater than the risk of rare side effects for all age groups.

You need 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, given 4 to 12 weeks apart. 

You may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until 7 to 14 days after your second dose. 

Most people have their second dose 12 weeks after their first, but it can be less time in certain situations.

ATAGI recommends a shorter interval of 4 to 8 weeks between the first and second doses in an outbreak so that maximal protection against COVID-19 can be achieved earlier.

The AstraZeneca vaccine uses a harmless, weakened animal virus (called a viral vector) that contains the genetic code for the coronavirus spike protein. Once this enters the body, it tells your cells to make copies of the spike protein. Your immune cells then recognise the spike protein as a threat and begin building an immune response against it.

The AstraZeneca vaccine does not contain any live virus, and it cannot give you COVID-19. 

You can read the full Vaxzevria Consumer Medicine Information document on the TGA site for more details (click ‘I accept’ to see the PDF). 

As with any vaccine, you may have some temporary side effects after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. This shows your immune system is working.

Common side effects after the AstraZeneca vaccine include:

  • injection site pain or tenderness
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • fever and chills.

Most side effects are mild and go away within 1 to 2 days. They are more common after the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

People who have had their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without any serious adverse effects should have the second dose to gain full protection. This includes people under 60 years old.

n rare cases, people may develop a specific type of blood clots after their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This is called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)

TTS involves blood clots (thrombosis) together with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). It is different from more common types of blood clots.

Symptoms of TTS most commonly develop 4 to 42 days after vaccination. See a doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms: 

  • severe or persistent headache that does not go away after taking pain relief medication
  • abdominal pain. 

Read more in our fact sheet Information on COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.

Low risk of developing TTS

In Australia, the risk of developing TTS after a first dose of AstraZeneca is around 20 in a million. 

The risk of dying from TTS after a first dose of AstraZeneca is less than 1 in a million.
The risk of dying if you catch COVID-19 is 42,000 in a million

1 in a million is really rare. See how it compares. You are more likely to be struck by lightning or die from taking daily aspirin than to die from TTS after vaccination with AstraZeneca.

Treatment for TTS

TTS can be treated very effectively and most people recover. 

Fact sheets on TTS

We have printable fact sheets on TTS for:

The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre has a page on TTS that includes an explanatory video.

Injection technique unlikely to cause TTS

ATAGI does not consider injection technique to cause adverse events for several reasons.

  • Most cases of TTS only happen after the first dose. If accidentally injecting into a blood vessel was a factor, cases would occur equally after both doses.
  • Directly injecting into a blood vessel is unlikely in the recommended injection sites.
  • TTS typically occurs some days or even weeks after vaccination. If it was caused by injecting into the blood stream instead of a muscle, it would occur much earlier.

The Delta variant has changed the risk/benefit profile of vaccination with AstraZeneca.

ATAGI recommends that in outbreak areas, everyone aged 18 years and above should strongly consider getting vaccinated with any available vaccine, including AstraZeneca.

You can still get vaccinated with AstraZeneca if you have a:

  • history of blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE)
  • weakened immune system (immunocompromise)
  • history of COVID-19 (but your doctor may advise you to wait for up to 6 months after recovery).

Pregnant women are offered Pfizer or Moderna as first choice, but can take AstraZeneca if the benefits outweigh the risks in their particular case. 

Groups who should not have AstraZeneca

ATAGI has recommended some people not be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Contraindications to AstraZeneca are:

  • anaphylaxis after a previous dose
  • anaphylaxis to any component of the vaccine, including polysorbate 80
  • history of capillary leak syndrome
  • thrombosis with thrombocytopenia occurring after a previous dose
  • any other serious adverse event, that following review by an experienced immunisation provider or medical specialist was attributed to a previous dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

ATAGI have also advised that people with a history of one of the following specific blood conditions should not receive the AstraZeneca vaccine:

  • cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST)
  • heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT)
  • idiopathic splanchnic (mesenteric, portal and splenic) venous thrombosis
  • anti-phospholipid syndrome with thrombosis.

The Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine is currently available as a:

  • first and second dose for people aged 5 years and over
  • third dose for people aged 5 years and over with severe immunocompromise
  • booster dose for people aged 16 years and over.

People aged 12 years and older need 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, given between 3 and 6 weeks apart. 

Children aged 5 to 11 years need 2 doses of Pfizer for children (one third the adult dose), given 8 weeks apart unless advised by a medical professional.

Booster doses are available to everyone 16 years and over who have had their primary course of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 3 months ago.

You may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until 7 to 14 days after your second dose or booster. 

Pfizer is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. This type of vaccine uses a genetic code called RNA to make your body’s cells produce the coronavirus’ specific spike protein.

Your immune system cells then recognise the spike protein as a threat and begin building an immune response against it. The RNA from the vaccine does not change your DNA in any way, and your body quickly breaks it down. 

Pfizer does not contain any live virus and it cannot give you COVID-19. 

This video from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health explains how mRNA vaccines work. 

You can read the full Cominarty (Pfizer) Consumer Medicine Information document on the TGA site for more details (click ‘I accept’ to see the PDF). 

On 5 December 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approved the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years .

The TGA’s provisional approval of Pfizer for children was based on a careful evaluation of available data to support its safety and efficacy among this age group.

Vaccinating children can help protect children from getting COVID-19. It can also help prevent children passing the virus onto younger siblings, parents, grandparents and the wider community.

The paediatric vaccine dose of Pfizer for children is one third of the dose for people aged 12 and over.

Children aged 5 to 11 years will receive a 2-dose primary course of vaccination, given 8 weeks apart.

As with any vaccine, you may have some temporary side effects after receiving Pfizer. This shows your immune system is working.

Common side effects after Pfizer include:

  • injection site pain or swelling
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle or joint pain
  • fever and chills.

Most side effects are mild and go away within 1 to 2 days. AusVaxSafety data shows that side effects are more common after the second dose. 

Myocarditis or pericarditis in young people

In rare cases, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart) can develop after vaccination with Pfizer. 

Most cases have mild symptoms and recover well. 

The TGA reports that these rare effects on the heart typically occur:

  • within 10 days of vaccination
  • after the second dose
  • more often in men aged under 30.

Contact a doctor or go to hospital immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms after a Pfizer vaccination: 

  • chest pain
  • pressure or discomfort in the chest
  • irregular, skipped heartbeats or ‘fluttering’
  • fainting
  • shortness of breath
  • pain when breathing.

Low risk of developing myocarditis or pericarditis

The risk of developing myocarditis or pericarditis is very low.

In the US, reported rates in males were 10 cases per million after first doses, and 67 cases per million after second doses. The TGA is monitoring the risk in the Australian population.

The risk in children aged 5 to 11 years is not yet known. The clinical trial in children aged 5 to 11 years did not have enough participants to assess rates of myocarditis or pericarditis following the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, but no specific safety concerns have been identified so far from millions of doses of this vaccine administered overseas to children aged 5 to 11 years. The benefits of vaccination outweigh this very rare risk, and vaccination is still recommended for all eligible age groups.  

Fact sheets

We have printable guidance on myocarditis and pericarditis after mRNA COVID-19 vaccines

The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre has a page on myocarditis and pericarditis that includes an explanatory video.

Injection technique unlikely to cause myocarditis

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) does not consider injection technique to cause adverse events because most myocarditis cases occur after the second dose. If accidentally injecting into a blood vessel was a factor, cases would occur equally after both doses.

The benefits of vaccination with Pfizer greatly outweigh the risk of side effects.  

It’s not recommended that you have the Pfizer vaccine if you have had:

  • a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of the vaccine
  • anaphylaxis after exposure to any component of the vaccine, including polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • myocarditis and/or pericarditis attributed to a previous dose of the vaccine
  • any other serious adverse event attributed to a previous dose of the vaccine.

Spikevax (Moderna) is approved for use in people aged 12 years and over. 

The TGA provisionally approved it for use in Australia on 9 August 2021 (for 18 years and over) and 3 September 2021 (for 12 years and over).

In Australia’s vaccine rollout, the Moderna vaccine is now available for people aged 12 years and over.

You need 2 doses of the Moderna vaccine, given at least 4 weeks apart. You may not be protected against COVID-19 until 14 days after your second dose. 

Find out more about booster doses for people aged 18 years and older and third doses for people with severe immunocompromise.

The Moderna vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. This type of vaccine uses a genetic code called RNA to make your body’s cells produce the coronavirus’ specific spike protein.

Your immune system cells then recognise the spike protein as a threat and begin building an immune response against it. The RNA from the vaccine does not change your DNA in any way, and your body quickly breaks it down. 

The Moderna vaccine does not contain any live virus, and it cannot give you COVID-19. 

This video from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health explains how mRNA vaccines work. 

You can read the full Spikevax Consumer Medicine Information document on the TGA site for more details. 

As with any vaccine, you may have some temporary side effects after receiving the Moderna vaccine. This shows your immune system is working.

Common side effects after the Moderna vaccine include:

  • pain at the injection site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • fever and chills
  • joint pain.

Less common side effects after the Moderna vaccine include:

  • redness or swelling at the injection site
  • swelling or tenderness in the armpit
  • nausea/vomiting
  • enlarged lymph nodes.

Most side effects are mild and go away within 2 or 3 days.

Rare side effects after the Moderna vaccine are severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), myocarditis and pericarditis. 

Myocarditis or pericarditis in young people

In rare cases, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart) can develop after vaccination with the Moderna vaccine. 

These rare effects on the heart typically occur:

  • within 10 days of vaccination
  • particularly after the second dose
  • more often in men under 30.

Contact a doctor or go to hospital immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms after a Moderna vaccination: 

  • chest pain
  • pressure or discomfort in the chest
  • irregular, skipped heartbeats or ‘fluttering’
  • fainting
  • shortness of breath
  • pain when breathing.

Low risk of developing myocarditis or pericarditis

In the US, reported rates in males were 10 cases per million after first doses, and 67 cases per million after second doses. The TGA will monitor the risk in the Australian population.

Treatment 

Most cases have mild symptoms and recover well. 

Fact sheets

We have printable guidance on myocarditis and pericarditis after mRNA COVID-19 vaccines

The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre has a page on myocarditis and pericarditis that includes an explanatory video.

Injection technique unlikely to cause myocarditis

ATAGI does not consider injection technique to cause adverse events because most myocarditis cases occur after the second dose. If accidentally injecting into a blood vessel was a factor, cases would occur equally after both doses.

The benefits of vaccination with Moderna greatly outweigh the risk of side effects.  

It’s not recommended that you have the Moderna vaccine if you have had:

  • severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of an mRNA COVID19 vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer)
  • anaphylaxis after exposure to any component of the vaccine, including polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • myocarditis and/or pericarditis attributed to a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer)
  • any other serious adverse event, that following review by an experienced immunisation provider or medical specialist was attributed to a previous dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

Nuvaxovid (Novavax) is approved for use in people aged 18 years and over.  

The TGA provisionally approved Novavax for use in Australia on 20 January 2022. 

The Novavax vaccine is currently available for all people aged 18 years and over. 

You need 2 doses of the Novavax vaccine, given at least 3 weeks apart.  

You may not be fully protected against COVID-19 until 7 to 14 days after your second dose.  

Novavax is a protein-based vaccine. This type of vaccine contains part of the coronavirus spike protein.  

Your immune system cells recognise the spike protein as a threat and begin building an immune response against it.  

The Novavax vaccine also has an ingredient called the Matrix-M adjuvant. This helps create a stronger immune response to the vaccine. 

Novavax does not contain any live virus and it cannot give you COVID-19.  

You can read the full Nuvaxovid (Novavax) Consumer Medicine Information document on the TGA site for more details (click ‘I accept’ to see the PDF).  

As with any vaccine, you may have some temporary side effects after receiving the Novavax vaccine. This shows your immune system is working. 

Common side effects after Novavax include: 

  • injection site pain or tenderness 
  • tiredness 
  • headache 
  • muscle or joint pain 
  • generally feeling unwell. 

Most side effects are mild and go away within 1 to 2 days.  

Rare side effects after the Novavax vaccine are severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). 

We don’t yet know if there are any other rare side effects after Novavax vaccine. This is because only relatively small numbers of people have received this vaccine worldwide. More information will be available over time. 

The benefits of vaccination with Novavax greatly outweigh the risk of side effects. 

It’s not recommended that you have the Novavax vaccine if you have had: 

  • a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of the vaccine 
  • anaphylaxis after exposure to any component of the vaccine, including polysorbate 80 
  • any other serious adverse event attributed to a previous dose of the vaccine. 

Source: Department of Health (February 2022)