Vaccines are a safe and effective way to protect yourself, your family, and your community against COVID-19. Getting vaccinated helps prevent you from getting seriously ill and reduces the spread of COVID-19 to others.
COVID-19 vaccines are available free for everyone aged 5 and over at vaccination hubs, pharmacies and GPs.
People aged 5 and over who have had COVID-19 and are due for their next dose of COVID-19 vaccine should wait 3 months from testing positive before getting their next vaccine dose.
Waiting for a 3-month period after infection before COVID-19 vaccination aims to provide better and longer protection against re-infection from COVID-19.
The next scheduled dose should be given as soon as possible after the 3-month period.
There is no need to provide a negative test before vaccination.
People who are pregnant
The risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 is significantly higher for pregnant people and their unborn babies.
People who are pregnant can have the Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.
- the risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 is significantly higher for pregnant people and their unborn baby.
- there are no major safety concerns about COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant people in Australia.
- getting vaccinated has no impact on the fetus and does not increase the chances of pregnancy complications such as premature delivery, stillbirth, and birth defects.
- getting vaccinated while pregnant may help give your baby some level of immunity to COVID-19.
- antibodies you produce from the vaccine may be passed to your baby to provide them with protection within two weeks of your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
- antibodies may also be in a vaccinated mother's breastmilk and offer the baby protection that way too.
- COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be as safe as the flu or whooping cough vaccine taken during pregnancy.
People trying to get pregnant or concerned about fertility
There is no evidence to show that COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility in women or men.
People who are breastfeeding
If you have concerns about your health and getting a COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your doctor or medical care provider.
By vaccinating your children, you can:
- reduce the spread of COVID-19
- protect them from getting sick from COVID-19
- keep schools open, so children can have more face-to-face learning and playtime with their friends.
Preparing for your child’s vaccination
As a parent or carer, there are several things you can consider before you take your child for their COVID-19 vaccine to help make it a positive experience for them.
If your child is anxious about receiving the vaccine or has additional needs, planning ahead and talking to them and your GP can help.
Children can receive additional support through vaccination centres, specialised centres and hospitals if they have needle distress, a disability, behavioural difficulties or other needs.
To make your child’s vaccination as smooth as possible, you will need to bring:
- proof of your child’s age (e.g. their birth certificate, passport or school card)
- a fitted face mask for yourself and your child (if they are aged 8 years and over).
What to expect on the day
An experienced immuniser trained to work with children of all ages, abilities and backgrounds will be on hand to give your child their vaccine.
If your child is overly nervous, immunisers might use visual distractions or vaccination aids to help calm your child.
Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
Older adults are more likely to fall seriously ill or be hospitalised.
Older adults, including their visitors and carers, are strongly recommended to take preventive measures to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
People over the age of 60 and residents of Public Sector Residential Aged Care or Private Sector Residential Aged Care facilities can book an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at home.
Additional doses ensure people with suppressed immunity have the same level of protection against COVID-19 as the general population.
People aged 5 years and over who are severely immunocompromised can receive three primary doses (primary course) of a COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer only). This third dose can be provided 2 to 6 months after the second dose.
an additional dose for people aged 16 and over with certain conditions - or having certain therapies - that can lead to severe immunocompromise. The additional dose can be provided 3 months after their primary course or 3 months after their most recent COVID-19 illness. For some people this will be their third dose and for some their fourth if they received a three-dose primary course. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you will get the Pfizer vaccine. If you are 18 and over, you can get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
Conditions and therapies include:
- active haematological malignancy
- non-haematological malignancy with current active treatment including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and/or hormonal therapy, but excluding immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors
- solid organ transplant with immunosuppressive therapy
- haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients or chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy within 2 years of transplantation
- immunosuppressive therapies including:
- high dose corticosteroid treatment
- multiple immunosuppressants
- selected conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs
- biologic and targeted therapies
- primary immunodeficiency
- advanced or untreated HIV with CD4 counts less than 250
- long-term haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
An additional booster dose for high-risk groups, including those severely immunocompromised is now recommended four months after their first additional dose. For some people, this will be their fifth dose. Talk to your GP, or primary care physician about the best option for you.
If you have questions about a pre-existing medical condition and getting a COVID-19 vaccine you should speak to your doctor or regular health professional.
People with the following conditions can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine:
- history of blood clots in typical sites
- increased clotting tendency that is not immune-mediated
- family history of blood clots
- history of ischaemic heart disease or stroke
- current or past thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
- those receiving anticoagulation therapy.
Anyone who has already had their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine without any serious side effects can receive their second dose of AstraZeneca. It is safe and recommended by Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation ATAGI.
Pfizer or Moderna are recommended in people of any age with a history of:
- cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST)
- heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT)
- idiopathic splanchnic (mesenteric, portal, splenic) thrombosis
- antiphospholipid syndrome with thrombosis.
If a person in one of these groups received a first dose of AstraZeneca, then Pfizer or Moderna is recommended for the subsequent dose(s).
People who develop immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) within 42 days after receiving AstraZeneca should consult a haematologist about whether to proceed with the second dose using the same or an alternative vaccine, and the timing of the second dose.
People with cardiac conditions can receive COVID-19 vaccines. This includes:
- coronary artery disease
- myocardial infarction
- stable heart failure
- prior history of rheumatic fever
- prior history of rheumatic heart disease (RHD)
- Kawasaki Disease
- most congenital heart diseases
- people with implantable cardiac devices.
People who have a history of the following conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine: recent (i.e. within the last 3 months) myocarditis or pericarditis
- acute rheumatic fever or acute rheumatic heart disease (i.e., with evidence of active inflammation)
- acute decompensated heart failure.
However, they should consult with a doctor or cardiologist before getting their COVID-19 vaccine if they are eligible to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
There are limited reasons for temporary medical exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination. Please visit and websites for further details.
If you can’t get any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines for medical reasons, your doctor needs to update your record on the Australian Immunisation Register to show that you have a medical exemption.
Once your exemption has been processed, you can download your COVID-19 digital certificate.
The duration of your medical exemption will be listed on your COVID-19 digital certificate.
The level and duration of natural immunity following an infection with COVID-19 will vary from person to person. The vaccine is likely to improve a person’s immune response even if they have gained some natural immunity through COVID-19 infection.
Anyone who has had COVID-19 and is due for their next dose of COVID-19 vaccine should do so 3 months after their most recent infection.
Reviewed 21 December 2022