Updated 29 January 2021
The first group of Australians will start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in February.
The Government’s priority is to protect our most vulnerable Australians first, and the frontline heroes who are protecting all of us. This includes aged care and disability care residents and workers, frontline health care workers, and quarantine and border workers.
The first priority groups will be vaccinated at up to 50 hospital sites across the country, and in residential aged care and disability facilities. It is expected as additional vaccines such as AstraZeneca are approved, further sites will be stood up.
For more information, see Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout strategy.
Under Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, the COVID-19 vaccination will be free for all Australian citizens, permanent residents, and most visa-holders.
All vaccines are thoroughly tested for safety before they are approved for use in Australia. This includes careful analysis of clinical trial data, ingredients, chemistry, manufacturing and other factors.
On 25 January 2021 the Australian Government announced the provisional approval the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia. This registration means Pfizer’s vaccine has met the TGA’s rigorous standards for safety, quality and efficacy.
Australians have a great record in being immunised. The COVID-19 vaccine will be voluntary, universal and free.
The Government aims to have as many Australians as possible choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Providing informed consent is required before getting each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Written consent is not mandatory and consent may be given verbally.
Vaccination providers may ask for written consent in some settings according to their normal practices.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has developed resources for patients and providers to help with providing informed consent to get a COVID-19 vaccination. This includes an optional consent form.
In preparation for vaccine rollout, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is currently finalising clinical advice for health care providers on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia in 2021. This is likely to include advice in relation to pregnant women. This advice will be provided as soon as it is received.
Clinical trials for new medicines do not typically include pregnant or breastfeeding participants. Each country that is or has hosted clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates has different guidance regarding use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy based on the benefits, risks and uncertainties in the context of the prevailing pandemic situation.
Vaccination is not a silver bullet or a complete substitute for other public health interventions. Testing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation will remain in place until evidence is established that the vaccination prevents transmission, and community coverage is achieved in Australia.
In Australia, mandatory quarantine with COVID-19 testing at regular intervals is still considered the best strategy for managing the potential public health risk posed by incoming travellers.
If favourable data on vaccination continues to be published over time, then this may trigger a decision as to whether there should be a scale back of other public health interventions.