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Information about getting your vaccine

Preparing for your COVID-19 vaccination

Make sure your details are correct

While you wait for your appointment, there are some things you can do now to get ready.

Make sure your details are up to date with Medicare. You can do this using either your:

If you don’t have your account set up, you can:

  • Enrol in Medicare, if you’re not already enrolled.
  • Set up your Medicare online account, if you’re enrolled in Medicare, but don’t have Medicare linked to myGov.

Once you’ve had your vaccine, you’ll be able to get an immunisation history statement to prove your vaccination status. You can find out how to get your immunisation history statement on the Services Australia website.

Don’t have a Medicare card?

If you’re not eligible for Medicare you can still get the COVID-19 vaccine for free.

First you will need to get an Individual Health Identifier (IHI) through Services Australia.

An Individual Healthcare Identifier is a unique number used to identify an individual for health care purposes and My Health Record. It helps ensure health professionals are confident that the right information is associated with the right individual at the point of care.

You can go into your nearest Centrelink office to apply for an Individual Healthcare Identifier. Alternatively you can:

Submit your application via email, post, fax or lodge it at your nearest Centrelink office.‚Äč

If you are part of the current COVID-19 vaccine roll-out phase and have received your IHI, you can book your COVID-19 vaccine appointment through an approved GP clinic.

Getting ready for your appointment

You should not attend a COVID-19 vaccination appointment if you:

  • are unwell with fever, cough, runny nose or other symptoms that could be from COVID-19
  • are awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • have tested positive with COVID-19 and you are in isolation
  • are in quarantine
  • are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

If you fall into any of the above categories, check with your GP or health clinic. You may need to reschedule your appointment for vaccination.

If you have had another vaccine in the 14 days before your COVID-19 vaccine appointment, tell your immunisation provider. Your immunisation provider may ask you to reschedule your appointment.

Getting your vaccine

You will need to bring your Medicare card and ID with you to the appointment.

At your appointment, you will be able to discuss any questions you may have before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. You will also have to complete a checklist before you have your vaccination. This checklist includes clinical safety questions such as consent and current medical conditions.

Once you have provided consent, you will be able to receive your COVID-19 vaccination.

After you’ve received your vaccination you will need to wait 15 minutes for observation to ensure there are no immediate reactions after getting the vaccine.

You will also receive your appointment time to get your second dose. It’s important you receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure the best protection.

After your COVID-19 vaccination

What to expect after getting your vaccine

As with any vaccine, you may experience some side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Side effects are normal and a good sign that the vaccine is working.

Common side effects include:

  • pain, swelling , tenderness, redness or itching at the injection site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • nausea
  • fever and chills
  • feeling unwell
  • joint pain.

These side effects are usually mild and go away within one or two days.

If you experience pain at the injection site or fever, headaches or body aches after vaccination, you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen. If there is swelling at the injection site, you can use a cold compress.

You should seek medical attention after vaccination if:

  • You think you are having an allergic reaction. Call 000 if you experience severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, a fast heartbeat or collapsing.
  • You are worried about a potential side effect or have new or unexpected symptoms.
  • You are experiencing severe and on-going headaches
  • You have experienced a side effect of the vaccine that has not gone away after a few days.

For symptoms which are not urgent, you can see your regular healthcare provider.

Reporting adverse side effects

You should report suspected adverse side effects to your vaccination provider or other healthcare professional. They will then make a formal report on your behalf to NT Health or directly to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Flu vaccine

This year, you will need three vaccines to stay healthy – 1 flu vaccine and 2 COVID-19 vaccines.

It is still important to make sure you get the flu vaccine in the lead up to the flu season.

It is recommended you wait two weeks between the COVID-19 vaccination and the flu vaccination.

If it isn’t your turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine yet, get your flu vaccine first.

Anyone over 6 months of age should get the influenza vaccination, even if they are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Kids under 5 years (and over 6 months) are at high risk from the flu and can get a free flu vaccine through the National Immunisation Program. Pregnant women are at high risk from the flu and should get a flu vaccination while pregnant. Pregnant women should seek advice from their GP before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Get the flu vaccine to protect your family from getting sick.