News Your vaccine questions: Is it safe, when can I get it and do we get to choose?

Your vaccine questions: Is it safe, when can I get it and do we get to choose?

Australia s COVID vaccine rollout has begun. You asked - we got the answers.
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The government wants all of us immunised by October and many of you still have questions about the process.

We asked you for all your vaccine-related questions, and you responded en masse.

And while we couldn’t answer every single one – we noticed some trends, so we got the information for you.

We previously answered questions around how long it is effective, which is best, and what happens with the new strains. 

And today, we’re tackling the logistics – how, where and when.

How will I know when I’m able to get the vaccine?

If you’re in Phase 1, which is rolling out now, the government or your employer will be in touch to schedule an appointment.

If you’re in a later group, right now you just need to play it COVID safe and sit tight.

The Department of Health says future updates will be provided via a public information campaign.

All approved COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be listed on  Healthdirect’s National Health Services Directory from late March.

It is worth having a look at the Australian government’s vaccine rollout plan, which takes you through how it will reach priority groups, and where to attend appointments.

How far apart are the two doses, and when will I know it’s time for the second one?

That depends on which vaccine you have.

If you’re having Pfizer, the recommended time between jabs is 21 days and with AstraZeneca, it will be 12 weeks apart.

After your first shot, someone will be in touch to remind you to get the second. If you miss it, call your GP and they will book you in for a second appointment.

Will I get a certificate to show I’ve been fully vaccinated?

Australians can already access their immunisation history through Medicare – there’s a digital and a hard copy.

After you’ve had the vaccine all your history will be there.

Just follow this link.

Will children be vaccinated?

Short answer: No.

Longer answer: Neither Pfizer or AstraZeneca have been tested on children. Pfizer recommends its jabs go to those 16 years and older, while AstraZeneca is for adults only.

Trials for giving both vaccines to children are under way – with AstraZeneca currently recruiting and Pfizer trialling it in adolescents aged 12 to 15.

Are the vaccines safe for people aged 65 and over?

Pfizer had people over the age of 65 in its trials and the results showed the vaccine worked well and was safe.

Currently, there is no information about how the AstraZeneca vaccine works in people aged 65 and over.

The TGA said it recommends the immunisation of elderly patients be done on a case-by-case basis.

If you’re 65-plus have a chat with your doctor.

What are the short-term side effects of the vaccine?

After your shot you may experience temporary side effects.

The main ones are tiredness, pain, headaches, joint pain, redness at the site of the injection, insomnia and nausea.

It may be a bit uncomfortable, but it’s not bad news.

The US Centres for Disease Control describes feeling sick afterwards as “normal signs that your body is building protection”.

The vaccine is doing what it’s meant to be doing and helping your body build up a resistance to COVID-19.

Data from overseas, where the vaccine has been rolling out for some time, shows us that severe reactions are extremely rare.

But if you have one, you should report it straight away to your doctor.

Do we get to choose which vaccine we receive?

No. People in high-priority groups, like health care and quarantine workers will likely receive Pfizer, and most other Australians will get the AstraZeneca.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t get the vaccination, for pre-existing medical conditions?

If you have a history of severely allergic (anaphylactic) reaction to vaccine ingredients you should not take it.

Do I have to pay to be vaccinated?

It’s free!