Get vaccinated as soon as you can, if it's appropriate for your own health.
Alrighty, it’s time people. Australia’s vaccine rollout is ramping up after a slow start, with more than 1 million jabs now being given out a week to help beat this relentless and infectious disease.
It’s quite clear that every public health official in Australia agrees that mass vaccination is the only way out of this crisis and back to living our god damn lives. Obviously, there are people on both sides of the argument, but as part of the music and entertainment industry that has been brought to its knees over the past 18 months, we’re 110% for getting our vaccines as soon as possible.
If like us, you’ve been looking into getting your vaccine, here’s what you need to know.
First up you need to access if you’re eligible for the vaccine
Eligibility can be broken up into a few different areas.
For those working on the frontline, in residential aged care, at high risk etc
The following people can access a reserved Pfizer appointment regardless of their age:
- All health care workers
- Public and private residential aged care and disability care workers and residents
- Hotel quarantine and border workers
- Household contacts of hotel quarantine and border workers
- Meat and seafood processing worker and associated cold chain transportation
- People who are vulnerable and at high risk from COVID-19, including residents of high risk accommodation
There’s of course plenty more people eligible regardless of their age. If you think you are, you can check here.
Early access was given to frontline and aged care workers, over-70s and over-50s, people with health issues, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders. But the rollout is now technically open to all age groups.
For those over the age of 60
You are eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
For those over the age of 40 and under 60
If you are aged 40 years or more, you are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
Previously the vaccine was only available to people over the age of 60. Victoria has extended its official vaccination rollout to people aged 40-59.
For those under the age of 40
Prime minister Scott Morrison announced on August 19 that all Australians aged 16-39 would be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine from August 30. People aged 16 to 39 are not yet able to book their jab, however. Morrison said that details on when and how people in this age bracket could secure their appointment would be announced next week.
Until August 30, if you are aged 16 to 39 years you may be eligible for vaccination.
People under 40 are being told they can opt to have the AstraZeneca vaccine if they wish to get vaccinated sooner rather than later. Currently, the COVID-19 Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine is 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.
To get vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, you will need to make an informed decision by speaking with your vaccine provider and find out if you’re eligible. They will help you weigh up the potential benefits against the risk of harm from AstraZeneca. Some conditions may mean it is not suitable for you and it is important that you discuss this with your healthcare provider.
As part of informed consent for each dose, people who are considering being vaccinated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca should be aware that TTS is a very rare potential complication. Your suitability to receive the vaccination will be checked again at your appointment and you will be advised of the possible symptoms of TTS and when to seek medical advice.
If you are not yet eligible and aged 18 years or over, you can register to be notified when you are.
The prime minister urged people not to cancel their AstraZeneca vaccinations if they were already booked following the Pfizer announcement.
From September, the federal government has announced that Australians aged 18 or over will also have access to the Moderna vaccine as well. The rollout has yet to begin, but the prime minister has hinted at where it will arrive first. “The first 1 million doses is on track to arrive next month and will go to pharmacies. Then we will have three million in October.”
For those under the age of 16
People under 16 years of age are not able to get vaccinated at this time unless they are 12-15 years of age and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people or have an identified underlying medical condition. If 12-15 and qualify as above, they can book an appointment from 9 August 2021.
As of just recently, it was revealed the government was discussing when children aged 12-15 could access the vaccine, saying the ATAGI advice regarding the safest way to innoculate teens would be available “very soon”.
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What’s the difference between the Pfizer and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine?
Most Australians can safely receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Ongoing research is showing that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine induces antibodies that are able to respond to a variety of mutations in the virus that causes COVID-19. The TGA will continue to closely monitor developments and do their own genetic examination of local cases.
The advice from the official vaccine watchdog, ATAGI, has changed multiple times over the past few months, but as it stands, they recommend the COVID-19 Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine as the preferred vaccine for people aged 16 to 59 years. However, the AstraZeneca vaccine can also be provided to this age group.
There’s a lot of talk about AstraZeneca as it appears to be associated with a rare side effect called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). TTS involves blood clots (thrombosis) and low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia), In Australia symptoms of TTS have occurred between 4 and 42 days post-vaccination. The blood clots can occur in different parts of the body, such as the brain (called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or CVST) or in the abdomen. The mechanism that causes TTS is not fully understood, but it appears similar to heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (or HIT), a rare reaction to heparin treatment.
Overall there is a very low chance of this side effect. But the rate is estimated to be higher in those under 60 years of age which is why AstraZeneca is currently preferred for over-60s.
People who are considering vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should be aware of this potential complication as part of providing informed consent.
The COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine can be used in adults aged under 60 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.
So, how do I make a vaccine booking?
There are now multiple places you can get vaccinated, from mass vaccination hubs to GPs and even pharmacies, but booking your jab is all on you, no one will contact you to get your vaccination.
Prior to making your booking, check your eligibility using the government’s official Eligibility Checker, here. This just involves all the basic info, like age, state, asks if you want to be considered for the AstraZeneca vaccine, and some medical-based questions.
It will work out if you’re eligible and has a searchable list of where to go, including participating GP, community health services and of course, the state-run vaccinations centres (which have recently opened up the AstraZeneca jab to folks aged between 18–39).
Current COVID-vaccination clinics in Geelong include the state-run hub at the Former Ford Factory, as well as Geelong City Medical Clinic, Barwon Health StaffCare, Gheringhap Medical Centre and Skin Clinic, Myers Street Family Medical Practice, Park Street General Practice, East Geelong Medical Centre, Newtown Medical Centre, Lifeline Medical Clinic, Norlane Medical Centre, Warralily Family Medical Practice, Medical One, plus heaps more.
There are seriously so many places administering the vaccination for those that are eligible.
If you are eligible and can’t find a clinic or make a booking that suits you, please check back later. New clinics and appointments are being added all the time.
Remember, if you’re getting the AstraZeneca vaccine and you’re under 60 years old, you will need to make a booking with your doctor prior to booking this vaccination so you can discuss your options and determine if it’s the right vaccine for you. If your doctor works at a COVID vaccine clinic, we recommend calling and booking both your appointment and the vaccination so you don’t have to make two trips!
You can also book your vaccine at a vaccination centre, using the online booking system or call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398. If you need an interpreter, call the Victoria Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 and press 0.
The vaccines, which have been shown to be highly effective against coronavirus, are free for all, regardless of immigration or Medicare status, and come in two doses. The Pfizer vaccine second dose should be taken six weeks after your first dose, while AstraZeneca doses are spread 12 weeks apart.
You will need two doses (injections) of the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are much more effective if you get your second dose. Get the same brand of vaccine for each dose.
Those working in hotel quarantine and border workers, frontline healthcare workers that work at COVID streaming hospitals that are required to be fully vaccinated (workers should book directly with the relevant vaccination service at a health service/hospital), and those working in correctional facilities clients/workers being served by in-reach vaccination service providers are all provided their second dose at a three-week interval.
Don’t have Medicare?
Covid-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia regardless of their Medicare or visa status. If you don’t have Medicare, you will need to book in at a Commonwealth, state or territory vaccination clinic. You can find a list of those clinics here, and you’ll be able to book in online. No other documentation is necessary other than a copy of your photo ID.
What do I bring to my appointment?
You will need to wear a face mask and be COVIDSafe when you’re in a vaccination centre.
Also, provide any emails about your vaccination appointment (on your phone or printed); photo identification, if you have one, such as a passport or driver’s licence; a Medicare card or Individual Healthcare Identifier number; proof of your eligibility such as an employee ID card, NDIS number, or carers documentation if required; information about your medical history, such as allergies, diabetes, history of blood clotting, etc. if required.
If you need help, the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline is on 1800 020 080.