If you are a Disability Service Provider please visit the disability service provider page.

Why you should get vaccinated for COVID-19

Some people with disability are at greater risk of becoming very sick if they catch COVID-19. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a safe and effective way of protecting you, your family and the community.

COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia.

Preparing for COVID-19 vaccination

While you wait for your appointment, there are some things you can do now to get ready, including making sure all your details are correct.

When you will get your COVID-19 vaccine

The Australian Government is committed to providing everyone in Australia with access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

At first, the number of COVID-19 vaccines will be limited and doses will be available to higher-risk priority groups. This is based on advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), a team of medical experts.

People with disability and disability workers in residential accommodation (with two or more people) will be offered the vaccine as part of phase 1a of the rollout.

Some people with disability will be offered the vaccine as part of phase 1b of the rollout including:

  • People with disability over 18 with a specified underlying medical condition
  • People with disability attending centre-based services such as day programs or supported employment.

People with disability and workers eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a are also able to attend a Phase 1b vaccination site to access the vaccine if they choose to do so.

You can find a Phase 1b vaccination provider by using the Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker.

If you choose to be vaccinated through a Phase 1b vaccination provider, you will need to provide proof of your Phase 1a eligibility to the provider. You can use the Eligibility Declaration Form as proof of eligibility. 

Carers (paid and unpaid) including carers who are also family members of someone with disability or an elderly person are also eligible for phase1b. This does not include family members of people with disability who are not carers.

Disability workers not eligible as part of Phase 1a are able to receive the vaccine in Phase 1b. This includes those that support people at home and in centre-based services.

You can read more about who is eligible to receive the vaccine in phase 1b, including about underlying medical conditions, in this information sheet about Phase 1b priority groups.

The COVID-19 vaccination program is ongoing and anyone in a priority group will be able to access the vaccine at any time during the program.

Read more about who will receive priority access to vaccines.

Where you will get your COVID-19 vaccine

People with disability living in residential accommodation will receive a vaccination at their residence. In-reach vaccination teams, managed by the Australian Government, will provide these vaccinations.

People with disability eligible for both Phase 1a and Phase 1b will be able to access vaccinations at:

  • GP–led respiratory clinics
  • general practices
  • Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, and
  • state-run vaccination clinics.

All locations offering COVID-19 vaccination should be accessible for people with disability, including physical access and communication.

How to book your vaccination appointment

You can find out how to book your vaccination by using the Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

After you check the phase you are eligible for, you will be able to view and select clinic locations based on the postcode you enter if you are currently eligible. If you are eligible for a later phase, you can register your details to be contacted when your phase rolls out. 

If you prefer to book appointments directly at a participating general practice or GP-led respiratory clinic, you can contact them directly to do so.

More vaccination clinics, participating General Practices, and state and territory vaccination clinics will become available in the coming weeks. Please check later if there are no clinics or appointments available in your area at this time.

You can also find out about how to book in for your vaccination appointment by contacting the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 1800 020 080.

You can choose if you want to get vaccinated for COVID-19

Vaccinations in Australia are voluntary, including the COVID-19 vaccine.

All Australians must give informed consent before having the COVID-19 vaccine.

To be vaccinated, you will need to provide your informed consent to the person giving you the vaccination and, in some cases, your disability provider.

People with disability, their families, carers and substitute decision-makers can discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccine with their GP or other health professionals. You can also discuss whether it is appropriate to receive the vaccine. This may assist in ensuring consent to have the vaccine is informed. Final consent is the decision of the person with disability and/or the person who supports them to make decisions.

The Department of Health has developed a Consent Form. An Easy Read version about giving your consent for COVID-19 vaccination is also available.

Number of doses

The Pfizer vaccine requires 2 doses given at least 21 days apart. The AstraZeneca vaccine requires 2 doses given 12 weeks apart.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca is preferred for adults over 50 years old and the Pfizer (Comirnaty) is preferred in adults aged under 50 years.

More information abotu doses of othe COVID-19 vaccies will become available as the TGA approves them for use in Australia.

COVID-19 vaccination and the annual flu vaccine

Getting a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day is not recommended. The preferred minimum interval between a dose of seasonal flu vaccine and a dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is 14 days.  Find out more about influenza and COVID-19 vaccines.

Attending COVID-19 vaccination appointments

People with disability can choose to attend their vaccination appointment with whomever they feel most comfortable. This could include a support worker, family member, carer or friend.

You will still need to stay COVIDSafe and practice good hygiene and physical distancing, after getting your vaccination. This includes wearing masks if applicable depending on the location.

COVID-19 transmission after vaccination

Clinical trials have shown that the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines protect against COVID-19 symptoms and severe disease after a person receives two doses.

We don’t have enough information to understand the long term protection against COVID-19 after vaccination at this stage, including for people with disability. We also don’t have enough information from research to understand whether people who have been vaccinated can pass the virus onto others.

The TGA will continue to monitor the ongoing research to understand how the vaccines work over time. This is why it’s important for you to continue practicing good hygiene, physical distancing and other COVIDSafe recommendations, even if you have been vaccinated.

Vaccination of your support workers

Vaccinations in Australia are voluntary, including COVID-19 vaccinations, and you have a choice over the people you employ to support you.

You can ask your disability service provider to encourage your support worker to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

If your worker does not wish to be vaccinated, and this is an issue for you, contact your service provider. Your service provider will need to consult with you to make alternative arrangements for your support worker. This may mean identifying another support worker.

Getting support if you choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines are voluntary and you can decide whether you want to be vaccinated or not.

If a disability service provider or support worker refuses to continue providing supports to you because you decided not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it could be a breach of the NDIS Code of Conduct (NDIS Providers). In this case, a complaint can be made to the NDIS Commission.

Easy Read resources

COVID-19 vaccination – Easy Read resources

A series of fact sheets about COVID-19 vaccines in Easy Read format.

Auslan videos

COVID-19 vaccination – How vaccines work – Auslan
1:12
Read transcript

Safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines will offer protection against the virus, helping to prevent death and serious illness.

But how do they actually work?

Like other vaccines, such as the flu shot, COVID-19 vaccines will be given with a needle.

This triggers an immune response in the body – which is the body’s natural way of defending itself.

The vaccine will strengthen your immune system by training it to recognise and fight against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Vaccines may contain either killed or weakened versions of the virus that causes the disease – or a small part of the virus, such as a protein.

There is no risk that you will get the disease from a vaccine.

When your immune system recognises this virus, or parts of it, in the vaccine as being foreign, it responds by creating memory cells and antibodies that will protect you against future infection or disease.

As a result, you will be less likely to have severe COVID-19 symptoms after a vaccination.

To learn more, visit health.gov.au

 COVID-19 vaccination – TGA approval process – Auslan
2:35
Read transcript

Vaccines are one of the most effective way to protect against diseases like COVID-19. 

Before COVID-19 vaccines can be given to people in Australia, they must first be approved by our world leading regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration – known as the TGA.

They regulate and approve all vaccines, medicines, and other medical goods in Australia. 

All potential COVID-19 vaccines are currently going through rigorous testing processes. They will be carefully assessed for safety, quality and effectiveness before they can be approved.

COVID-19 vaccines will only be approved if clinical trials can show the benefits to Australians against COVID-19.

To be approved it must pass a comprehensive six stage process, and the TGA will not cut corners:

A pharmaceutical company – or sponsor – must submit a pre-application. The TGA will look at this against clinical data and the need for the vaccine. 

If the application meets the TGA’s requirements, the sponsor can then apply to register the vaccine for use in Australia. At this point they must include a significant amount of clinical and non-clinical information to support the request. 

Next, the experts at the TGA look at the available data. They can ask for more information to fill any gaps, and they can also ask for independent advice.

Once the vaccine is fully evaluated, the TGA will decide whether to provide what they can for an initial registration. 

The vaccine can now be registered and be supplied in Australia. 

All registered vaccines are closely monitored by the TGA, who will respond to any safety issues. COVID-19 vaccines will be no different.

The TGA will also be checking all the COVID-19 batches before they are released for rollout.

The first approved vaccines will go to priority groups.  Until we all get vaccinated, it’s important that we continue to be COVID safe by practising good hygiene, physical distancing and getting tested.

The Department of Health is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay up to date with the latest information, resources and advice.

COVID-19 vaccination – Vaccine development time – Auslan
2:15
Read transcript

Vaccines are an effective way to protect us from diseases like COVID-19, preventing death and serious illness.

Vaccines can take a long time to develop, because they must undergo multiple phases of clinical trials.

Researchers around the world have been working hard to develop COVID-19 vaccines from the very early stages of the pandemic. They have been able to speed up development of vaccines without compromising safety and effectiveness. 

Thanks to the collaboration between scientists, researchers, manufacturers and distributors, the development and implementation planning phases have been run side-by side, instead of one after the other.

Research into how to respond to a pandemic has been ongoing, long before COVID-19. 

This research looks at data from previous coronavirus’ such as SARS in 2002 and MERS in 2012, giving researchers a head start to build the  COVID-19 vaccines.

Thanks to our community maintaining COVIDSafe behaviours like good hand hygiene and physical distancing, we have had more time to test vaccines for use in Australia while still keeping us safe from the virus. Our scientists are still working quickly and have been able to deliver our first vaccine, but  no corners have or will be cut.

In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, or the TGA, has been  rigorously assessing the   potential COVID-19 vaccines for safety, quality and effectiveness. They will continue to do this with the remaining vaccines before they will be approved and made available to Australians this year.

Once approved, each batch must also be checked to make sure it meets the same quality standards.

All these steps are important before the vaccinations begin.

To learn more visit health.gov.au

The Department of Health is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay up to date with the latest information, resources and advice. 

COVID-19 vaccination – Live action montage 30 seconds – Auslan
0:30
Read transcript

COVID-19 changed our lives.

For us to live our everyday lives more freely, we need the added protection of COVID-19 vaccines.

Our experts are looking carefully at the clinical trial results, along with data on quality and manufacturing of the vaccines.

We only approve vaccines when we have enough evidence that they work and are safe.

The roll-out of vaccines will be available in batches, so we’re making sure they go where they’re needed first.

To keep up to date visit health.gov.au 

Authorised by the Australian Government.

The Department of Health is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay up to date with the latest information, resources and advice.

COVID-19 vaccination – Stay informed – Auslan
0:30
Read transcript

Australia is working hard to ensure we all have access to safe, effective and free COVID-19 vaccines, which will give us the protection to go about our everyday lives.

The COVID-19 vaccines are being assessed carefully by independent clinical experts to ensure all potential vaccines meet Australia’s high safety and quality standards. 

After vaccines are approved, they will be rolled out, going to those most in need of protection first. 

To keep up to date visit health.gov.au

The Department of Health is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay up to date with the latest information, resources and advice.

COVID-19 vaccination – Priority rollout animation – Auslan
2:01
Read transcript

Protecting Australians, including our most vulnerable communities from the exposure of COVID-19, is critical.

COVID-19 vaccines will be safe and effective, helping to prevent death and serious illness. Now that our first vaccine has been approved, it will be made available to those most in need of protection first. 

These groups have been identified based on expert medical advice.
 
People at increased risk of exposure, infection and transmission of COVID-19, include:

• Health, aged care and the disability care workforce; 
• Aged and disability care residents; and
• People in other higher risk settings, such as quarantine and border workers

And…

People who have an increased risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19 include:

• Older people
• People with pre-existing, medical conditions; and
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

Priority access will also be given to:

People working in critical services, such as:

• Emergency services providers, defence force personnel, other health care workers;  and
• People supplying and distributing essential goods and services, such as meat processing, 

The delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to those most in need will continually be reviewed based on medical data and evidence. 

Once the COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out to priority groups, doses will be made available to all other adults. 

Research from the pandemic has shown that young people are less likely to have severe illness from the virus.
If evidence supports the decision and the vaccines are approved for young people, they will then receive the vaccine. 

To learn more, visit health.gov.au

The Department of Health is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay up to date with the latest information, resources and advice.

COVID-19 vaccination – Australia’s COVID-19 vaccines – Auslan
1:45
Read transcript

Everyone in Australia will have access to COVID-19 vaccines. 

Australia has purchased more than enough vaccines for everyone, but first, each vaccine must get the tick of approval from Australia’s health regulators.

All up, Australia has purchased more than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, to be able to quickly and effectively deliver the vaccines to everyone in Australia.

Each vaccine is rigorously tested to meet the standards of our world-leading regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration – or TGA. 

The TGA reviews clinical trial data and results for assessment of potential COVID-19 vaccines. 

Now that our first vaccine has been approved, it will be made available to those most at risk. They include health, aged and disability care workers, aged and disability care residents and hotel quarantine workers. 

Once more supplies are available, the vaccines will be rolled out to everyone in batches throughout this year.

Two doses will be needed per person to offer the best protection.

The vaccines will be an important part of our fight against COVID-19, helping to prevent death and serious illness. Despite this, the approval will not be rushed. 

In the mean time we all need to continue to be COVID safe by practising good hygiene, physical distancing and getting tested.

To learn more visit health.gov.au

The Department of Health is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay up to date with the latest information, resources and advice.

The Department of Health has a series of videos with health professionals which may answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine from a medical perspective. This includes information about wearing face masks after being vaccinated, how the vaccines are administered, and the impact of the vaccine with other medications.

Continue COVIDSafe practices

To keep you and your community safe, whether you have been vaccinated or not, you should continue to:

  • Stay 1.5 metres away from other people and avoid handshakes and physical contact with people outside your household.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell and get tested for COVID-19. You must stay at home until your results come back.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitiser.
  • Always cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue and put the tissue in the bin straight away.
  • Download the COVIDSafe app to help health officials let you know if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

For more information

Australian Government, state and territory government helplines will be have information on how people with disability can access the vaccine.

Disability Gateway Helpline: 1800 643 787

Disability Gateway website: www.disabilitygateway.gov.au

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677.

The National Coronavirus Helpline: 1800 020 080

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National): For translating and interpreting services call 131 450 and ask for the helpline you would like to be connected to.

National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline

If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, call the telephone number listed below. If you need assistance with booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, please note the call centre is unable to book appointments on your behalf.

View contact

Last updated: 
9 April 2021

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