COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine 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. All people aged 5 and over are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Visit the Vaccine clinic finder and answer some questions to find your closest vaccination clinic.

Information in your language

Questions and Answers about COVID-19

Why vaccination is important

Vaccination remains the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones against the impacts of COVID-19, including serious illness or death from the virus.

Current evidence shows that people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine have a much lower chance of developing more serious symptoms from COVID-19. This is compared to those who did not get the vaccine.

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.

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 recently had any other vaccine (e.g. flu vaccine) you should wait at least 7 days to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Make sure you book your appointments with enough time between them.

Children aged 5 to 11 can receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine.

All people aged 12 and over can receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccine.

Adults aged 18 and over can receive the Pfizer (Comirnaty), Moderna (Spikevax) or Novavax (Nuvaxovid) COVID-19 vaccine.

Adults aged 60 years and over can receive the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine. This is based both on the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age (and thus increased benefit of vaccination) and the potentially lower risk of the rare side effect Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) with increasing age.

AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) COVID-19 vaccine can still be used for people aged under 60 years if:

  • you have already received your first dose without any serious side effects
  • the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for you
  • you have made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.

Read more about Queensland’s vaccine rollout.

Currently in Australia, Pfizer (Comirnaty) has been approved for people aged 5 years and over, the Moderna (Spikevax) have been approved for people aged 12 years and over and Novavax (Nuvaxovid) and AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) have been approved for adults aged 18 years and over.

RANZCOG and ATAGI have recommended that pregnant women receive the COVID-19 vaccine (Opens in new window) at any stage of pregnancy

No safety concerns have been identified for women who received a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy.

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.

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 you need to have a second dose to have lasting protection.

While one dose may give some protection, it may only last for the short-term. It will take some time for your body to build an immune response, you may not be protected against COVID-19 until after your second dose.

However, if you do not receive your second dose within the above timeframes, there is no cause for panic or concern. You will still be afforded excellent protection against severe COVID-19 infection and you do not need to start the vaccination regimen again.

We will continue to learn over time about how long the protection will last.

Reactions to vaccines do happen. Most reactions are minor, temporary and are expected, such as a sore arm or headache. In very rare circumstances, we can see severe reactions such as anaphylaxis.

Common side effects are likely to occur in more than 1 in 10 people who receive a vaccine. If you experience one of the common side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccine that is actually a sign that the vaccine is doing what it was made to do.

Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system. So when you experience symptoms like headache or fever, after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, this is a sign that your immune system is being prepared and is being trained to recognise, and fight, against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read more about the possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines.

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.

COVID-19 and influenza

Yes. Flu is serious. Each year thousands of people are hospitalised with complications from the flu. The best way to avoid getting ill is to make sure you are vaccinated against the current strains of flu (they can change year by year). Your flu vaccination is important and it is recommended you speak to your health care provider about scheduling an appointment to get vaccinated.

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine can be given on the same day as the influenza vaccine.

Vaccination booking and appointment

View the Queensland Health vaccination locations and book online or check if your preferred location accepts walk-ins.

You can also find your nearest participating GP or Pharmacy using the Vaccine clinic finder.

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. The list of what you need to bring and what information you need to tell your immunisation provider for your vaccination can be found here.

3. It is important that you tell your immunisation provider if you have had another vaccination in the 14 days before your COVID-19 vaccine appointment. 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.

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).

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.

More information about COVID-19

Free COVID-19 vaccinations are available to everyone aged 5 years and older. The Vaccine Clinic Finder is the best way to find and book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

Have any symptoms or feeling unwell? Find your closest COVID-19 testing location or contact your local hospital.

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