Safety, testing and trials
The COVID-19 vaccines is safe, effective and free for all adult Australians.
Scientists and health staff have been working together around the world to make the different COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccines must be tested many times in clinical trials to make sure they are safe.
In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration approves all vaccines before they can be given to people. The Therapeutic Goods Administration only approves vaccines that are safe and effective.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has already approved two COVID-19 vaccines in Australia.
- Pfizer vaccine – it is also known as the Comirnaty vaccine.
- COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccines being used in Australia have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and are administered under the advice of the COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatments for Australia – Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
Before any vaccine is approved for use in Australia, including a COVID-19 vaccine, it must pass the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s rigorous assessment and approval processes. This includes assessment of its safety, quality and effectiveness.
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.
The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines protect against COVID-19 symptoms and severe disease after a person receives two doses.
At this stage, there is not enough information to understand the long term protection against COVID-19 after vaccination. Booster doses may be required, similar to other vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration will continue to monitor the ongoing research to understand how the vaccines work over time. This is why it’s important that even if you have been vaccinated, you should continue practising good hygiene, physical distancing, and staying home if you are unwell.