Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about COVID-19 vaccines
Information about the COVID-19 vaccine program.
A collection of COVID-19 vaccines communication materials, including social media content, posters and videos, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations.
A collection of materials created for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vaccine providers to download and print to use in their health clinics and practices. These materials include posters, social media resources, handouts and web banners.
When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 12 and over are able to access a COVID-19 vaccine. Check with your local healthcare worker to make an appointment.
Why should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?
COVID-19 can cause serious health issues. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safe and effective way of protecting yourself from getting really sick from COVID-19. Encourage your family, Elders and community to get vaccinated so that they are protected from serious illness resulting from COVID-19.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have been identified as a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout program. This is because of the higher risk of getting very sick and developing serious illness from COVID-19. This may be due to a higher rate of chronic health conditions and in some cases crowded-living conditions, which increases the risk of spreading the infection.
Vaccines make your immune system stronger by training it to recognise and fight against specific viruses. When you get vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and helping to protect your community. There is early evidence that COVID-19 vaccines also help reduce the spread of the virus.
When enough people in the community are vaccinated, it slows down the spread of disease. When lots of people in the community are vaccinated, we rarely see the deadly diseases that vaccines prevent. For example, very serious diseases such as diphtheria, measles and meningococcal diseases.
With lots of people vaccinated, we could have less restrictions. Interstate borders could remain open and people could plan important events with greater confidence.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free and available to everyone in Australia.
Where can I get vaccinated?
The vaccines will be available at your local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service, Commonwealth vaccination clinics, participating general practices, and state and territory clinics. Vaxzeria (AstraZeneca) is also available at participating pharmacies. Vaxzeria (AstraZeneca) is also available at participating pharmacies.
Use the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker to find your nearest vaccination clinic.
Are there any known side-effects?
As part of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) approval process, all vaccines are tested and studied for serious side effects.
For a vaccine to have approval in Australia, the benefit must be greater than the risk. All vaccines can have some side effects. These usually don’t last long and are mild.
The most common side effects are pain at the injection site, fever or muscle aches and headaches. This is typical of any vaccine.
Data continues to be collected and reviewed from around the world with more than 3.5 billion people now being vaccinated.
In light of new information, specific advice was released on 8 April 2021 by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), about a very rare blood clotting syndrome called thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia – or TTS – which is likely to be connected with the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine.
Based on ATAGI’s advice released on 17 June 2021, the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine is now preferred for adults aged under 60 years. This recommendation is based on:
- the increasing risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 in older adults (and hence a higher benefit from vaccination)
- increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS) following the AstraZeneca vaccine in those under 60 years.
For specific advice about side effects from different doses of vaccines, talk to your doctor or health care professional.
Learn more about vaccine side-effects.
What if I already had my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine?
It is important you get the same type of COVID-19 vaccine for both doses. This is because the evidence from clinical trials shows this is effective and is what is approved for use by the TGA.
People who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without any serious side effects can be given the second dose, including adults under 60 years. The AstraZeneca vaccine is most effective when you get your second dose 12 weeks after your first dose, but it can be given anytime between 4 to 12 weeks.
Overseas data suggests the risk of TTS is much lower after the second dose than the first.
Can I choose not to be vaccinated?
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary, but strongly recommended. It will help you to not get really sick from COVID-19. Encourage your family, elders and community to get vaccinated so that they are protected from serious illness from COVID-19.
If you choose not to get a COVID-19 vaccine, this will not affect eligibility for government assistance (Family Tax Benefit A) or childcare fee assistance.
If you work in aged care, you need to get vaccinated. This is because we need to protect older people who can get really sick if they catch COVID-19.
I live remotely and move between places, what should I do?
You don't have to get your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the same location where you got your first one.
If you live remotely and move between places, get in touch with your current local clinic to talk about your options. Your healthcare worker can help you plan. They will let you know when you should receive your second dose.
The Pfizer vaccine is most effective when you get your second dose 3 weeks after your first dose, but can be given anytime between 3 and 6 weeks. The AstraZeneca vaccine is most effective when you get your second dose 12 weeks after your first dose, but it can be given anytime between 4 and 12 weeks.
You can find a local clinic wherever you are in Australia by using the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder. The Clinic Finder lets people:
- check when they can book their vaccine appointment,
- search for vaccination clinics by location,
- and schedule appointments either online or over the phone.
COVID-19 vaccines and appointments will be more available over the coming months.
You can also call the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline on 1800 020 080 to speak to someone to help you find a vaccine clinic near you. They will give you the contact information to make a booking.
This Implementation Plan is for the COVID-19 vaccination program for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over 18 years of age. This plan has been developed in consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, and with state and territory governments.
A collection of resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities, about coronavirus (COVID-19).
This community kit contains radio commercials, videos, posters and a range of other resources to help you share important messages about coronavirus with your community.
Artwork Acknowledgement – Jordana Angus
We acknowledge artist Jordana Angus for the use of her artwork ‘Stand Together For A Healthy Future’, which has been adapted for use in our materials.
Here is a description of the artwork:
This painting represents standing together to support each other in healthy living practices both physically and mentally. By being connected to community and staying informed on the latest reputable health advice we become stronger as a whole community.
The impacts of coronavirus show how important it is to unite and take the steps required to keep ourselves, loved ones and our community safe; something we can apply to all areas of health and wellbeing.
National Coronavirus Helpline
If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, call 1800 020 080. If you need assistance with booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, please note the call centre is unable to book appointments on your behalf. The line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.