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Before you get vaccinated for COVID-19

There are steps you can take now to stay safe and get ready for your COVID-19 vaccine.

How to get the vaccine

Vaccination centres are open to people who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Protect yourself and your family against COVID-19 

The rollout of Australian Government’s vaccine program is one of the largest health programs ever managed in Australia and it will take time to distribute and vaccinate enough people to achieve high levels of protection in the community. The vaccines are safe, voluntary and free for everyone.

Regardless of when the vaccination is made available for you, you will need to keep being COVIDSafe, to keep yourself and your friends, family and loved ones safe. 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often or use hand sanitiser when you can’t wash your hands 
  • Keep 1.5 metres distance from other people
  • Wear a face mask when required
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow 
  • Follow current public health restrictions.

If you are unwell you should get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible and stay home until you receive a negative result. 

Make sure your Medicare details are up to date

You should make sure your Medicare details are up to date before you receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health website to find out how to update your Medicare details.

If you don’t have a Medicare card

The vaccines are safe, voluntary and free for everyone. This includes people who don’t have a Medicare Card, refugees, people seeking asylum, temporary and provisional visa holders (including international students and temporary migrants). 

  • If you do not have a Medicare Card, you should apply for an Individual Healthcare Identifier which will enable you to register for and book your COVID-19 vaccination. 
  • Individual Healthcare Identifiers are used to match the correct record to the person being treated - no clinical information is linked to the identifier. 
  • Applying for an Individual Healthcare Identifier and being vaccinated for COVID-19 will not impact your visa status or your eligibility for government payments. 

Check your eligibility to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

The Australian Government is responsible for the rollout and phasing of the COVID-19 vaccine.

You can use the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker to find out when you can get vaccinated. Vaccinations will take place in phases to ensure those most at risk of getting sick from COVID-19 are vaccinated first. 

  • The eligibility checker will tell you if you are eligible now and help you find a vaccine provider.
  • If you aren’t eligible yet you can register to receive an email or SMS notification when you are able to be vaccinated.
  • You can also check your eligibility, find a vaccine provider or register for a notification by calling the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 020 080.

Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine

The best person to talk to if you have concerns about your health and getting a COVID-19 vaccine is your doctor.

You can find information on the rare blood clotting condition after COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca.

Precautions for vaccination 

People with certain conditions may need additional precautions like staying for 30 minutes for observation after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.  Your immunisation provider or doctor can discuss your personal risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination and the best timing to receive your doses.

Tell your immunisation provider if you have had: 

  • an allergic reaction to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or to other vaccines 
  • anaphylaxis to other vaccines or to other medicines. Your provider can check to ensure there are no common ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine you are receiving 
  • a mast cell disorder (a type of immunological condition)
  • a bleeding disorder or you are taking a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant). 

You should also speak with your doctor before getting vaccinated if you: 

  • have a weakened immune system (immunodeficiency) or are receiving a treatment that suppresses the immune system
  • are pregnant
  • have had COVID-19 (people who have had COVID-19 should still be vaccinated)
  • have a history of a rare side effect of heparin (a blood thinning agent) that is called heparin induced thrombocytopenia (HITS)
  • have a history of central venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).

Who should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine 

You should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine if you have had: 

  • anaphylaxis (a type of severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
  • anaphylaxis after exposure to any component of a COVID-19 vaccine.  

If you have a history of anaphylaxis or multiple allergies you should speak to your doctor about consulting an allergist or immunologist, and receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in a specialist immunisation service in a public hospital.

Reviewed 03 May 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

24/7 Coronavirus Hotline

If you suspect you may have coronavirus (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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