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Frequently asked questions

  • COVID-19 is a severe and life threatening disease, caused by a virus that is easily spread from person to person. There is no cure for COVID-19.

    Having the COVID-19 vaccine protects you, your family and your community. Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine gives you around 90% protection against hospitalisation and death from COVID-19.

  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration approves vaccines.

    In the Northern Territory the following COVID-19 vaccines are available:

    • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
    • AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
    • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

    You can choose which vaccine you would like. Speak to your health care provider or vaccination centre about what vaccines they have available.

  • Vaccines work to strengthen a person’s immune system by training it to recognise and fight against specific germs that can cause serious illnesses, like COVID-19.

    Vaccines insert weakened or inactivated virus into the body, so that the immune system can recognise these germs as being foreign and start to create antibodies to protect against future infection. Vaccines are a safe way of triggering an immune response in the body without causing illness.

    If you come into contact with the disease in the future, your body remembers it and your immune system works to quickly stop the disease from developing.

    You are far less likely to catch a virus or disease if you have been vaccinated. Immunisation not only protects you but protects your family and those in the community by reducing the spread of the virus.

  • Ingredients for the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia are listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

    Pfizer vaccine

    COMIRNATY™ COVID-19 VACCINE (Pfizer) - Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) summary

    Active ingredient (main ingredient):

    • BNT162b2 [mRNA]

    Other ingredients (inactive ingredients):

    • ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate) (ALC-0315)
    • 2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide (ALC-0159)
    • distearoylphosphatidylcholine (DSPC)
    • cholesterol
    • potassium chloride
    • monobasic potassium phosphate
    • sodium chloride
    • dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
    • sucrose
    • water for injections

    AstraZeneca vaccine

    COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca - Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) summary

    Active ingredient (main ingredient):

    • One dose (0.5 mL) contains 5x1010 viral particles of (ChAdOx1-S a, b)

    Other ingredients (inactive ingredients):

    • histidine
    • histidine hydrochloride monohydrate
    • sodium chloride
    • magnesium chloride hexahydrate
    • disodium edetate (EDTA)
    • sucrose
    • ethanol absolute
    • polysorbate 80
    • water for injections

    Moderna vaccine

    SPIKEVAX (elasomeran) COVID-19 Vaccine (Moderna) - Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) summary

    Active ingredients (main ingredient):

    • One dose (0.5 mL) contains 100 micrograms of messenger RNA (mRNA) (embedded in SM-102 lipid nanoparticles).

    Other ingredients (inactive ingredients)

    • Heptadecan-9-yl 8-[2-hydroxyethyl-(6-oxo-6-undecoxyhexyl)amino]octanoate
    • Cholesterol
    • Distearoylphosphatidylcholine
    • 1,2-dimyristoyl-rac-glycero-3-methoxypolyethylene glycol-2000
    • Trometamol
    • Trometamol hydrochloride
    • Acetic acid
    • Sodium acetate trihydrate
    • Sucrose
    • Water for injections
  • The vaccine is given by an injection into your upper arm by a trained health professional.

  • 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.

  • The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses between three to six weeks apart.

    The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses between four to 12 weeks apart.

    The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, four  weeks apart.

    For children aged 5 to 11 years, the recommended time between doses is 8 weeks, and this interval can be shortened to a minimum of 3 weeks in special circumstances.

    You will need two doses of the same vaccine to make sure you have the best protection.

  • We reach ‘herd immunity’ when enough people are immunised to stop or slow the circulation of the disease across the community. This reduces the likelihood of infection, which then affords protection for people who can’t be vaccinated.

  • This year, you will need 3 vaccines to stay healthy – 1 flu vaccine and 2 COVID-19 vaccines.

  • You can get the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time.

    Read advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) about co-administration with COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Stay up-to-date with the latest information using reputable sources.

    The Australian Government will regularly be providing information along with NT Health and SecureNT.

    For more information visit Australian Government Department of Health website or call the  National COVID-19 Helpline 1800 020 080

  • All people aged 12 years and over in the NT are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

    From 10 January all people aged 5 years and over are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the NT.

    Book your vaccine today

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary but strongly encouraged. It is mandatory for workers in certain settings across the Northern Territory to get the COVID-19 vaccination and show evidence of this to their employer to continue working in the same role.

    The COVID-19 vaccine is free for all adults living in Australia including permanent residents and temporary visa holders.

  • NT Health is working to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to remote communities across the Northern Territory in partnership with Aboriginal Health Organisations.

  • You can have someone attend your vaccination appointment for support. This can be a family member, carer, friend or support worker.

  • Your vaccination information will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register.

    If you need proof of your COVID-19 vaccination

    • Create a myGov account if you don’t already have one
    • Link Medicare to your myGov account
    • Download the Express Plus Medicare app
    • View your immunisation history statement or COVID-19 digital certificate
    • Save your COVID-19 digital certificate to your Apple Wallet or Google Pay
  • The COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women and those planning a pregnancy. Women can receive the vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.

    The risk of serious, negative outcomes from COVID-19 is higher for pregnant women and their unborn baby.

    Pregnant women who get COVID-19 have a higher risk of needing to go to hospital or needing intensive care. Their unborn baby will have a slightly higher chance of being born prematurely (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and needing to go to a hospital for care.

    Vaccination is the best way to reduce these risks. You will need two doses of the Pfizer vaccine three to six weeks apart, or two doses of the Moderna vaccine, four to six weeks apart.

    Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you have any questions about getting the vaccine.

    For more information download the COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning pregnancy

  • If you have had your first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without any serious side effects, you should receive your second dose of AstraZeneca as planned. It is recommended that a second dose is given between four and 12 weeks after the first dose.

  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration is responsible for regulating vaccines in Australia and has strict requirements including a rigorous testing, assessment and approvals process.

    There will be different types of the vaccine available, but every vaccine delivered in Australia has to be rigorously tested and approved by experts first​.

  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for use in Australia.

  • There were no short cuts taken when making the vaccine. Medical scientists collaborated across the world, significant funding was invested into the research and lots of people volunteered to take part in the trials.

    All available resources and efforts have been directed towards finding an effective vaccine, due to the urgency of protecting people from the COVID-19 virus.

    Some of the reasons behind this rapid progress include:

    • Unprecedented levels of funding and collaboration between vaccine developers and governments around the world. Planning has been undertaken early, such as investing in manufacturing facilities before a vaccine is even available.
    • Technology has evolved to make vaccine development faster than in the past. To develop a vaccine, scientists need to understand the virus’s genetic code. New technology has allowed researchers to quickly identify the genetic code of the COVID-19 virus, soon after the virus emerged. This allowed scientists around the world to start work in designing and building vaccines.
    • Clinical trials progress more quickly if a disease is widespread, which is the case for COVID-19. This means researchers can evaluate the effect of a vaccine between the unvaccinated and vaccinated groups much sooner than for a rare disease.
  • The approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal or egg products.

  • No, the vaccines available do not use the live or whole virus that causes COVID-19 and will not give you COVID-19.

  • Personal behaviour remains our best defence against COVID-19 until everyone is vaccinated. Keep practicing good hygiene, apply physical distancing, stay at home when sick and get tested when displaying any symptoms.

  • Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine gives you around 90% protection against hospitalisation and death from COVID-19.

    The likelihood of catching COVID-19 is reduced by 80% for those people who are fully vaccinated.

  • Booster doses are available to everyone aged 18 years and over who have had both doses of their primary course of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months ago. A primary course consists of two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine registered for use in Australia for the general population.

    The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and recommended by ATAGI as a COVID-19 booster dose.

    The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is not currently recommending booster doses for:

    • People aged 12 to 17 years
    • People who are severely immunocompromised and have already had a third dose.

    Read ATAGI’s advice on COVID-19 booster doses.

  • The Pfizer vaccine is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and recommended by ATAGI as a COVID-19 booster dose.

    You can have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster dose regardless of which vaccine you had for your first 2 doses.

    You can have the AstraZeneca vaccine only if you:

    • Can’t have the Pfizer vaccine for medical reasons
    • Had 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine previously.

    Read ATAGI’s advice on the type of vaccine recommended for booster doses.

  • A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine increases your protection against:

    • The COVID-19 virus
    • Getting seriously ill or going to hospital
    • Giving COVID-19 to other people
    • Dying from COVID-19.
  • You can book a booster dose if it has been 4 months or longer since your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

    The date you had your second dose of vaccine is on your COVID-19 digital certificate.

  • You can book to get your COVID-19 booster dose if it has been 4 months or longer since your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

    You can book to get your booster dose at a NT Vaccination Centre, participating GP clinics, respiratory clinics, pharmacies and Aboriginal Health Clinics. Book your appointment.

  • The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends the paediatric Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds.

    For children aged 5 to 11 years, the recommended time between doses is 8 weeks, and this interval can be shortened to a minimum of 3 weeks in special circumstances.

  • ATAGI recommends vaccination with the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for all children aged 5-11 years.

    The dose is one third of the amount compared to the vaccine for people aged 12 and over.