a vaccine vial and syringe with COVID spores

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has provisionally approved the Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for use in Australia. What does this mean for people with a disability and when will they be able to access the vaccine? Links to Easy Read and Auslan resources.

COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia. Vaccination in Australia is voluntary, and you can choose if you want to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

This information has been supplied by the Australian Government. 

The Australian government have Easy Read and Auslan resources on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. 

For Coronavirus Vaccine information in your language see SBS.


Skip to: EligibilityVaccine supply | Register Vaccine Interest Common questions | More info 
 

Eligibility and registering for the vaccine

The delivery of vaccines has changed slightly after recent advice from Australia’s vaccine experts about the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Everyone aged 40 years and over is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine will be provided to eligible adults under the age of 60 through Commonwealth and state and territory clinics. For people under 40, only those in priority groups are currently eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

The Commonwealth will continue to provide the Pfizer vaccine via the aged care in-reach program.

The number of Pfizer sites across the country will increase as more doses arrive in Australia.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is available at Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics, participating general practices, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, and state-run vaccination clinics.

If you are aged 18-59 years of age, you can choose to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine:

  • following an appropriate assessment of suitability by a qualified health professional; and
  • if you provide verbal or written consent.

People with disability and disability workers are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Some people with disability are at greater risk of becoming very sick if they catch COVID-19, so getting vaccinated is very important.

People with disability who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • all NDIS participants aged 16 years and over
  • people with disability with:
    • an underlying medical condition
    • significant disability
    • attending centre-based services such as day programs, respite care and supported employment.

You can check your eligibility on the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker and also check your state/territory health department’s website for any additional eligibility requirements.

 You can check your eligibility and find a vaccination location near you here.

If you are unsure about your eligibility use the Eligibility Checker to find out when you can receive a vaccine. If you are eligible, you will be able to view vaccination locations and book an appointment.

Information Sourced From: Information for people with disability about COVID-19 Vaccines and Who can get vaccinated for COVID -19.

Get help

You might need help using the Eligibility Checker, as it does not meet accessibility standards for people with low vision or blindness. If you do, you can contact the Disability Gateway on 1800 643 787 or contact them via the National Relay Service (NRS) or Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS).

State and territory led clinics and changes to the national rollout

ACT 

Register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at an ACT Government clinic by signing up to MyDHR and answering the eligibility questionnaire. If you’re unable to register online, call the COVID-19 vaccine booking line on (02) 5124 7700. Once registered, you’ll be sent a notification when appointments become available.

In Victoria

Priority access for residential aged care and disability support staff is available at all state-led Victorian vaccination sites

You can book your vaccine appointment:  

  • by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398
    • For an interpreter, press 0. 
    • If you or the person that you are booking has a disability and needs additional support to get a COVID-19 vaccine,  email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   

  • through the Australian Government Eligibility Checker.

NSW 

  • If you are 60 years and over and have not yet been vaccinated, please book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment with your doctor (GP) immediately. You can now receive your second AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine dose 6-8 weeks after your first dose.
  • If you have had your first dose of AstraZeneca but your second dose appointment is not within the next four weeks, ask your GP to bring your appointment forward. This will give you better protection sooner. You can now receive your second AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine dose 6-8 weeks after your first dose.
  • If you are aged 40-59 years, have not yet been vaccinated and are unable to obtain an appointment for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, please discuss your circumstances with your GP. You may be able to get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination based on your risk and the likely benefits for you. NSW Health vaccination clinics are also able to provide the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people aged over 40.
  • Anyone aged 18-39 wishing to get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, is encouraged to talk to their GP.
  • Please be aware your GP is working hard to support you to receive your COVID-19 vaccination. Please be respectful, your GP will make every effort to help you.

If you're in NSW and 40 to 49 years of age but not yet eligible, you can register your interest to have the Pfizer vaccination through Service NSW

Queensland

Who is currently eligible for a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

    • Any adult aged 40-59 years
    • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16-59 years
    • People aged 16 and over with a specific underlying medical condition 
    • Cancers and haematological diseases, currently or in the past
      • Transplant recipients
      • Chronic inflammatory conditions
      • Immunodeficiency conditions
      • Chronic kidney, liver, lung or neurological conditions or diabetes
      • Severe obesity
      • Heart disease and blood pressure disorders
      • Severe mental health conditions
  • Pregnant women
  • NDIS participants, their carers and support workers (aged 16 and over)
  • Any worker in the following industries, aged 16 and over:
    • Aged care and disability care workers
    • Healthcare workers
    • Quarantine, airport and border workers
    • Critical and high-risk workers e.g. defence, police, fire, emergency services and meat processing.
  • Household contacts of quarantine workers, border workers and healthcare workers who are at a higher risk of having contact with COVID-positive patients, regardless of age

Who is eligible for an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

  • People aged 60 years and over, unless they have a referral from their GP
  • Any person who has had a first dose of AstraZeneca, without any serious adverse events.

Queensland Health

South Australia

All South Australians 16 years and over who are Indigenous or live in a regional council area can book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment now

All people aged 40 and over are now eligible to get vaccinated.

Book your vaccination appointment.

Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government is running vaccination clinics for all residents of King Island, Cape Barron Island and Flinders Island aged 16 to 49 years old.

Booking is preferred, but walk-ins are accepted. To book, please call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline 1800 671 738.

Western Australia 

The Western Australia Government is running vaccination clinics.

Eligibility in WA extends to:

  • Adults aged 30 +
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples 16 years and over
  • Adults with underlying medical conditions, including disabilities
  • Household contacts of quarantine and border workers
  • Healthcare, aged care and disability care workers, volunteers and carers
  • Quarantine and border workers
  • Critical and high risk workers
  • Residential aged care workers and residents
  • Residential disability care workers and residents
  • Essential outbound travellers with a travel exemption

If you’re eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, find out where you can get vaccinated and how to book your appointment at rollupforwa.com.au.

If you have any issues, you can call 13COVID (13 268 43) and the service team can register and book your appointment, between 8 am-6 pm, 7 days a week.

Alternatively, visit the Eligibility Checker above which will lead you to the Vaccine Clinic Finder to book. 

Northern Territory (NT)

All people aged 16 years and over in the NT are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Make a booking at an NT Health clinic by going to ‘Booking your COVID-19 vaccine’. 

Vaccine supply

Everyone in Australia will have access to COVID-19 vaccines eventually. Australia has purchased more than enough vaccines for everyone, but first, each vaccine must get the tick of approval from Australia’s health regulators. Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The ATAGI now recommends that the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer (Comirnaty) is preferred over the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in adults aged under 60 years. ATAGI notes further evidence of a rare but serious side effect involving thrombosis (clotting) with thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) following the first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. The Government has purchased a further 20 million Pfizer vaccines as a result. 

All up, Australia has purchased more than 134 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, to be able to effectively deliver the vaccines to everyone in Australia. 

The TGA reviews clinical trial data and results for the assessment of potential COVID-19 vaccines. Now that some vaccines have been approved, they will be made available to those most at risk. They include health, aged and disability care workers, aged and disability care residents and border and quarantine workers.

Two doses will be needed per person to offer the best protection. The vaccines will be an important part of our fight against COVID-19, helping to prevent death and serious illness. 

In the meantime, we all need to continue to be COVID safe by practising good hygiene, physical distancing and getting tested if unwell. 

Registering Interest for the Vaccine

Answer some questions to check if you can get a COVID-19 vaccination now, find out where and book an appointment. You can do this for yourself or another person.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends the COVID-19 Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine as the preferred vaccine for those aged 16 to 59 years, but the AstraZeneca vaccine can be provided to people aged 18 to 59 years of age.

If you are aged 40 years or more you are eligible for vaccination. The questions will help you find the right clinic and make a booking.

If you are aged 16 to 39 years you may be eligible for vaccination. The questions will help you find out if you are.

  • If you are eligible, you will be able to find the right clinic for you and make a booking.
  • If you are not yet eligible, and aged 18 years or over, you will have the option to be notified when you are.

If you are eligible and can’t find a clinic or make a booking that suits you, please check back again later. New clinics and appointments are being added all the time.

People under 16 years of age are not able to get vaccinated at this time.

You can register through Health Direct.

Common questions

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe?

The AstraZeneca vaccine will now only be recommended for use in people aged 60 and over after the federal government accepted new advice from the country's vaccine experts.  This recommendation is based on:

  • increasing risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 in older adults (and hence a higher benefit from vaccination), and
  • a potentially increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia following AstraZeneca vaccine in those under 60 years.

The COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine can be used in adults aged under 50 years where the benefits clearly outweigh the risk for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits. The incident rate for this complication is extremely low but not insignificant. 

The AstraZeneca vaccine has nonetheless been provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for people 18 years and older. Detailed information on the decision can be found on the TGA website.

AstraZeneca will continue providing further data on safety, quality and effectiveness to the TGA.

As part of Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy, the Australian Government has secured 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with 50 million to be manufactured onshore

If you are booked in for first dose AstraZeneca Vaccine and under 60 years old.

ATAGI made the recommendation to Government, that the type of vaccine for 50 - 59-year-olds, be the Pfizer vaccine. You can now change your appointment to a Pfizer vaccine. 

Vaccine clinics are now offering Pfizer to 50 - 59-year-olds.

From the 5th July GP clinics across the country will be offering the Pfizer vaccine to 50- 59-year-olds.

I’ve had my first dose of AstraZeneca, and have side effects that I am worried about, what should I do? 

From Australian Government Department of Health

For most vaccines the symptoms after the vaccine are quite mild, pain at the injection site, headache, fever, chills. These are short term side effects and resolve pretty quickly.

For thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome. TTS.

Manifests usually between days Days 4 - 28 after the first AstraZeneca vaccine. The symptoms are a really severe headache, not managed with pain killers, sometimes blurred vision, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. 

If you have any of those symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

If you don't have those symptoms but are feeling a little unsure, do ask a health professional, or seek advice if you are concerned.

Why should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?

COVID-19 can cause serious ongoing health conditions, and sometimes death. Immunisation is a safe and effective way of protecting you and your family.

Immunisation helps protect you and others, especially people who may not be able to be immunised themselves. When you get immunised, you protect yourself as well as helping to protect the whole community.

When enough people in the community get immunised, it is more difficult for the virus to spread. This helps to protect you and people who are at more risk of getting the disease, including unvaccinated members of the community. This means that even those who are too young or too sick to be vaccinated will not encounter the disease. 

What if I am pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy?

The government have a COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.

What if I have an allergy?

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has published clinical advice on the use of COVID-19 vaccines.

They say people who are allergic to any of the ingredients in the COVID vaccines should seek expert advice, as should anyone who has an allergic reaction after the first dose of the COVID vaccine.

And if you have a history of anaphylaxis to any antigen (including food, insect stings, medicines) or if you have an adrenaline autoinjector (such as an EpiPen), you should let medical professionals know, and be monitored for 30 minutes after your vaccine.

What if I have an egg allergy?

Neither the Pfizer nor AstraZeneca vaccines contain egg protein.

Is there anything in the vaccines I may be allergic to?

The Pfizer vaccine contains polyethylene glycol, so anyone with a confirmed or possible history of PEG allergy needs to get expert advice before being vaccinated.

AstraZeneca contains an additive called Polysorbate 80 (which is also used in flu jabs), so have a chat with your doctor if you have previously had a reaction to it.

Why have COVID-19 vaccines been developed so quickly?

The urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic means that all available resources and efforts have been directed towards finding a safe and effective vaccine.

This has happened so quickly because:

  • funding and collaboration between vaccine developers and governments around the world at levels never seen before
  • advancements in technology that has allowed vaccines to be developed faster than in the past
  • clinical trials progressed more quickly because COVID-19 was widespread, so differences between vaccinated groups and unvaccinated groups could be detected sooner.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines strengthen your immune system by training it to quickly remember and fight specific viruses or bacteria.

Vaccination involves receiving a vaccine from a needle or drops in the mouth by a trained health professional. A COVID-19 vaccine will be from a needle. This may hurt a little bit.

After vaccination, if you do catch the disease, it is likely your illness will be less severe.

Vaccines are a safe way to strengthen your immune system without causing illness.


Are there any side effects?

All medicines, including vaccines, have risks and benefits. Usually, any side effects are mild and may only last a few days.

Through clinical trials, some of the temporary side effects reported for COVID-19 vaccines are normal such as pain at the injection site, fever or muscle aches.


Do I have to get vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia. Vaccination in Australia is voluntary, and you can choose if you want to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

It is possible that in the future, vaccination against COVID-19 might become a requirement for travel or for people working in certain high-risk workplaces like aged care. If this becomes the case, there will be exemptions in place for people who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical conditions.


Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine and annual influenza (flu) vaccine?

Routine scheduling and giving a flu vaccine with a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day is not recommended. The preferred minimum interval between a dose of the seasonal flu vaccine and a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is 14 days.

You should talk to your health care professional for more information.


How far apart are the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Pfizer doses are recommended 21 days apart.

The AstraZeneca jabs are recommended 12 weeks apart.

If you miss the second dose, it's best to discuss this with your doctor who will likely book you in for your second appointment straight away.


Do I have to go to the vaccination appointment alone?

People with a disability can attend their vaccination appointment with whoever they feel most comfortable with. This could include a support worker, family member, carer or friend.

COVIDSafe practices will still be required to be observed including social distancing and masks if applicable depending on the location.

It is important to maintain COVIDSafe practices like staying 1.5 m apart (social distancing), wearing masks (especially in confined and busy spaces) and frequent and thorough hand washing.

In Victoria 

People with disability who need additional support to get a vaccination or who can’t attend a community-based setting can get help from Disability Liaison Officers.

To contact a Disability Liaison Officer for support, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and please provide the following information:

  • your contact details
  • the suburb that you live in and postcode
  • the name of your local council (if known)
  • information about why you need help and what sort of help you need.

More information about Disability Liaison Officers is available at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/disability-liaison-officers


Can I still get coronavirus after I’ve had the vaccine?

Clinical trials have shown that the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines protect against COVID-19 symptoms and severe disease after a person receives two doses.

We don’t have enough information to understand the long-term protection against COVID-19 after vaccination at this stage.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will continue to monitor the ongoing research to understand how the vaccines work over time. This is why it’s important that even you have been vaccinated, you should continue practising good hygiene, physical distancing and other COVIDSafe recommendations.


Can I infect someone else after I’ve had the vaccine?

We don’t have enough information from research to understand whether people who have been vaccinated can pass the virus onto others. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will continue to monitor the ongoing research to understand whether the vaccines can stop a person from passing the virus onto another person.

This is why it’s important that even you have been vaccinated, you should continue practising good hygiene, physical distancing and other COVIDSafe recommendations.


What about Support Worker Vaccination?

Vaccinations in Australia are voluntary, including the COVID-19 vaccine, and you have a choice over the people you employ to support you.

You can ask your disability service provider to encourage your support worker to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If the worker does not wish to be vaccinated, the service provider will need to consult with you to make alternative arrangements for your support if this is an issue for you. This may mean identifying another support worker for example.


Getting support if you choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines are voluntary and you can decide whether you want to be vaccinated or not.

If a disability service provider or support worker refuses to continue providing supports to you because you decided not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it could be a breach of the NDIS Code of Conduct (NDIS Providers), In this case, a complaint can be made to the NDIS Commission.


What about consent for the COVID-19 vaccination?

If a person with a disability is not able to provide individual consent for the vaccine, a guardian or person responsible would make the decision. This guardian or person responsible must have all the necessary information to make an informed decision on behalf of the person with a disability.

This includes getting direct information from their GP about the suitability of treatment. To provide consent for some procedures a consent form must be completed, this is available here. If the person with a disability is getting the vaccination from their usual GP, consent may be provided over the phone instead. 

It is important to remember that the doctor cannot provide consent on behalf of the person with a disability unless no one else is available and they are the vaccine provider. 

For more information about medical consent, click here.


Disability Vacciantion Hubs

Life Without Barriers has opened an accessible Vaccination Hub in Dandenong in Melbournes South East.

New hubs in Newcastle and the Central Coast in NSW are opening soon. 

 The hubs are specifically for people with disability who live in Supported Independent Living (SIL) and their support staff and they will begin to receive the vaccine as early as next week.


Need more information? 

For more information please contact the Disability Gateway or visit the Department of Health vaccine website or their COVID-19 vaccines - is it true page or their Information for People with Disability about COVID-19 vaccines page.

See the ABC's coverage on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for a full breakdown of the rollout strategy and what you can expect during and after vaccination. 

A COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for Disability Service Providers has been made by the Australian Government Department of Health. 


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