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 pharmacies and GPs.
Visit Get vaccinated for information on doses and to find out which vaccine is best suited for you.
People aged 5 and over who have had COVID-19 and are due for their next dose of COVID-19 vaccine should wait 6 months from testing positive before getting their next vaccine dose.
Waiting for a 6-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 6-month period.
People with long COVID symptoms can still get vaccinated and can discuss this with their doctor if they have any questions.
View the ATAGI on post-infection vaccination, or more information in the Victorian COVID-19 Vaccination Guidelines.
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 Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists both advise that:
- 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
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are trying to become pregnant. You do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.
There is no evidence to show that COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility in women or men.
People who are breastfeeding
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are breastfeeding. You do not need to stop breastfeeding after vaccination.
If you have concerns about your health and getting a COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your doctor or medical care provider.
Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) can support people with disability to access available vaccination services.
Contact a DLO by emailing DLOcoordinator@dhhs.vic.gov.au.
For information on vaccines and doses for children and teenagers, visit Get vaccinated.
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.
A Disability Liaison Officer can also facilitate vaccination for a child with a disability or special requirements.
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).
Each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who will provide consent for vaccination. You can also provide your child with a signed to take to their appointment if you cannot attend.
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.
ATAGI recommends a 2023 booster for everyone aged 65 and above, 6 months after receiving their last dose or after being infected with COVID-19 if it has occurred since their last dose.
Older adults, including their visitors and carers, are strongly recommended to take preventive measures to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
Additional doses ensure people with suppressed immunity have the same level of protection against COVID-19 as the general population.
A 2023 booster dose is recommended for at-risk people aged 5 and above. At risk adults and children include those with a disability, severely compromised immune system and complex or multiple health conditions, which increase their risk of severe COVID-19.
You may need additional doses based on your medical condition. Speak to your GP for more information.
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.
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.
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. However, they should consult with a doctor or cardiologist before getting their 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.
There are limited reasons for temporary medical exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination. Please visit and Services 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 6 months after their most recent infection.
Visit Worker vaccination requirements for information on temporary exemption to the third dose deadline for select workers.
Reviewed 29 March 2023