After your COVID-19 vaccination

Find out what to do after your COVID-19 vaccination, 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.

This  ATAGI recommended doses and vaccines outlines which vaccines and doses are recommended for each age and population group.

This infographic outlines when to get your COVID-19 vaccination and which vaccines and doses are recommended.

You will get partial protection around 12 days after the first dose of your primary course. The second dose of your primary course encourages your body to create stronger protection (immunity). A third primary course dose is required for severely immunocompromised people.

It takes 7 to 14 days after a booster dose before you get stronger protection. 

Find out more about booster doses.

How long protection lasts

COVID-19 vaccines are working very well to protect against severe illness, hospitalisations and death. However, their effectiveness against infections decreases over time. Researchers around the world are finding out:

  • how long protection lasts
  • if you need booster doses, such as an yearly booster.

Right now, you can book your free booster dose if it has been 6 months or longer since your last dose of your COVID-19 vaccine.

Learn more about booster doses.

Get a COVID-19 digital certificate

You can get a vaccination certificate after you have completed your primary course of COVID-19 vaccination. It can take about 2 weeks after your second dose to become available.

You can get proof of your COVID-19 vaccination by accessing your Immunisation History Statement.

You can access your Immunisation History Statement:

If you do not have a Medicare card, or do not have access to a myGov account, you can access your Immunisation History Statement by:

  • asking your vaccination provider to print a copy for you
  • calling the Australian Immunisation Register enquiries line on 1800 653 809 (8 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday AEST) and asking them to send your statement to you in the mail. It can take up to 14 days to arrive in the mail.

For more information on how to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations, see the Services Australia website.

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.

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 doctor thinks you have had a reaction or side effect from vaccination, please report it.

You can ask your doctor to report to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for you.

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.

Date last updated:

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