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COVID-19 Vaccines

AstraZeneca vaccine update

The Australian Government has provided new advice about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Australia for people under the age of 50 years.


Two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for use in Australia.

The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, three weeks apart.

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses, three months apart.

It doesn’t matter which type of vaccine you get because they will both keep you safe. You will need two doses of the same vaccine to make sure you get the best protection.

  • This is the largest and most complex vaccine rollout ever seen in Australia.

    We are working with the Australian Government and our Aboriginal and community health partners, to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to all Territorians.

    Aboriginal people are included in upcoming priority groups and will be able to get their vaccine through local health clinics when it’s their turn.

  • You will receive the vaccine available at the time and location of your appointment.

    It doesn’t matter which type of vaccine you get because they will both keep you safe. You will need two doses of the vaccine to make sure you get the best protection.

  • 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.

    There is no formaldehyde or toxic substances in the approved COVID-19 vaccines.

    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
  • All medicines and vaccines can cause side effects and most of these are minor effects. However, if you do experience any side effects following vaccination and are worried, contact your GP.

    Common side effects after having the COVID-19 vaccine include:

    • pain or swelling at the injection site
    • tiredness
    • headache
    • muscle pain
    • chills
    • fever
    • joint pain.

    Less common side effects after having the COVID-19 vaccine include:

    • redness at the injection site
    • nausea
    • enlarged lymph nodes
    • feeling unwell
    • pain in the limb
    • insomnia
    • itching at the injection site.

    These side effects are usually mild and usually 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. These help reduce the above symptoms (you do not need to take paracetamol or ibuprofen before vaccination). If there is swelling at the injection site, you can use a cold compress.

    After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, seek medical attention 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 have an expected side effect of the vaccine which has not gone away after a few days.

    For symptoms which are not urgent, you can see your regular healthcare provider (usually your GP or local clinic).

    Vaccine side effect checker

  • The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine requires two doses, three weeks apart.

    The AstraZeneca vaccine requires two doses, about three months apart.

    It is important you receive two doses of the same COVID-19 vaccine to ensure the best protection.

  • 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.

    Australians can access their immunisation history statement through Medicare for proof of vaccination both digitally and in hard copy, if required.

  • Getting the vaccine will keep you, your family, friends and community safe from COVID-19.

    It will save lives, keep Territorians in jobs and get life back to normal sooner.

    The COVID-19 vaccine reduces the community’s risk of COVID-19 outbreaks. The more people that have the vaccine, the safer we will be.

  • 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.

    Experts believe a herd immunity of 65 percent or higher will be needed for COVID-19, but we cannot be certain at this stage.

  • Yes. As always, all Territorians will be encouraged to have their flu vaccination in the lead up to flu season.

  • It is recommended you wait two weeks between getting the flu jab and the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is that it doesn’t matter which vaccine you receive first.

  • Currently the vaccine is only available through the national phased roll out, people have been grouped by priority. The priority groups have been determined by the Australian Government, based on advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). The priority groups are categorised by the group’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 and their risk of severe disease.

    The prioritisation of these groups ensures those who are at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 or who are at the highest risk of a severe disease are offered the first opportunity to be protected against COVID-19.