From Monday, Australians aged over 50 will be able to get their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine at clinics across the country.
This is despite many eligible Australians still waiting to be vaccinated, including those with a disability.
The early start date for over-50s follows repeated delays to Australia’s vaccine rollout linked to supply blocks, logistical failures and changing health advice regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Under the latest health advice, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been deemed unsuitable for younger Australians given its low risk of blood-clotting, leaving Pfizer the preferred jab for that group.
As a result, Australians aged 50-plus have been brought forward in the vaccine rollout.
Here’s what you need to know.
Where can I get my first dose?
If you’re over 50 and want to get in as soon as possible, it’s best to book an appointment at a government-run respiratory clinic or vaccination hub.
Those sites will be the first to offer AstraZeneca vaccines to phase 2a.
Availability at state-run clinics will, however, depend on where you live.
At the moment, it’s easiest to get a vaccine shot in Victoria thanks to the state’s fast-growing number of vaccination hubs and clinics.
All you need to do is book an appointment at one of the state-run centres, or walk into one and wait (though booking ahead is strongly encouraged).
You can also call 1800 675 398 to find out which vaccine centre is right for you, based on availability, age and vaccine type.
In New South Wales, the state government says it will continue to focus on frontline workers and the vulnerable in its state-run centres from May 3.
This means bookings will be offered only to those it deems most at-risk, and not available to all residents aged over 50.
NSW will likely start up a booking system once more vulnerable groups have been vaccinated.
Most GP bookings for over 50s will be coming online from May 17, though some could start earlier if they have government approval.
You can use the federal government’s eligibility tracker to find out how to get your vaccine.
The tracker will assess where you live and help you make a booking at the closest centre.
You can also call the national COVID helpline on 1800 020 080 for information about your local clinic, but you can’t make a booking via that phone number.
What if I want the Pfizer vaccine?
Some state and territory-run vaccine hubs will be offering the Pfizer vaccines if they have enough refrigeration storage.
However, this vaccine type will only be offered people aged under 50 in phases 1a and 1b, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.