After your COVID-19 vaccination

Find out what to do after you are vaccinated for COVID-19, including how to get your vaccination certificate, what you need to do to stay safe and what to do if you have side effects.

It takes time to build immunity

It takes time for your body to build up an immune response after you get your vaccination.

Most people need 2 doses to get strong protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. 

The first dose gives you partial protection as soon as 12 days afterwards. The second dose encourages your body to create stronger protection (immunity).

It takes 7 to 14 days after your second dose before you are fully protected. 

Find out more about booster doses for people aged 18 years and older and third doses for people with severe immunocompromise.

How long protection lasts

We do not yet know how long the protection from COVID-19 vaccines will last. Ongoing research around the world is evaluating:

  • how long protection lasts
  • whether you will need booster doses, such as an annual booster.

Right now you can book your booster dose if it has been five months or longer since your second dose of your COVID-19 vaccine.

ATAGI recommends the use of a single booster dose for those who have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccine course at least 4 months ago. 

As soon as practical, ATAGI further recommends providing boosters to all eligible adults from a minimum of 3 months following the second dose of the primary course.

Learn more about booster doses.

Get a COVID-19 digital certificate

Once you are fully vaccinated, you can get a vaccination certificate. It can take about 2 weeks after your second dose to become available.

Learn more about COVID-19 digital certificates.

Hygiene and masks

To protect others and yourself continue to follow all local restrictions, including wearing a mask where required. 

You should also continue to practice good hygiene and follow all precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Side effects

Serious or allergic reactions to vaccines are very rare. They usually occur within 15 minutes of receiving a vaccine. 

You will be monitored for at least 15 minutes after your vaccination. The person who gives you the vaccine has been trained to respond to immediate reactions.

If you have side effects of vaccination

Most potential side effects are mild and go away in a few days. Very rarely, side effects might be more serious.

Learn when you should seek help for side effects.

You can check any symptoms you are experiencing through healthdirect's symptom checker. 

Check side effect symptoms

You can also call the national coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080 any time.

Find out more about general vaccine safety and side effects, or see specific side effects associated with:

Report a suspected reaction or side effect

Reporting suspected side effects and reactions helps us monitor vaccine safety. Every report is valuable and helps ensure vaccination is safe.

If you or a health professional thinks you have experienced a reaction to or side effect of vaccination, please report it.

You can ask a health professional to report to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on your behalf. 

Or you can report side effects yourself:

If you have experienced a rare side effect you may be eligible for compensation under our COVID-19 vaccine injury compensation scheme.

Domestic travel

At this time, domestic travel restrictions still apply to you after vaccination. 

Find out more about domestic travel.

International travel

There is still a ban on travel into and from Australia. You must have an exemption for international travel.

If you were vaccinated overseas, you must still have a negative PCR test before your flight leaves and quarantine when you arrive in Australia.

See more about international travel.

Last updated: 
21 January 2022

Help us improve

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.