COVID-19 vaccination – About the Spikevax (Moderna) vaccine – Auslan

Information in Auslan for people with disability about the Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine.


Spikevax (Moderna) is a vaccine that can prevent people from becoming ill from COVID-19. Two doses are required initially (called the primary course).  It is preferable to have the two doses 8 weeks apart, but the interval between doses can be reduced to 4 weeks. A shorter interval may be recommended for people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions), in an outbreak setting or prior to international travel.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can also be used for a booster dose in people aged 18 years and older. The booster dose is given 3 months or more after the primary course.

Moderna does not contain any live virus, and it cannot give you COVID-19. It contains the genetic code for an important part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus called the spike protein. After getting the vaccine, your body makes copies of the spike protein. Your immune system will then learn to recognise and fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. The genetic code is broken down quickly by the body.

Vaccination is voluntary and free. You can discuss any concerns or questions you have about COVID-19 vaccination with your immunisation provider or your GP before you have the vaccine.

Very large clinical trials have shown that Moderna is effective in preventing COVID-19 in people aged 12 years and older. Adults who had two doses of Moderna were about 94% less likely to become ill from COVID-19 than people who did not get the vaccine. The vaccine was also effective in people aged over 65 years (86%) and in adolescents aged 12-17 years.

Protection against COVID-19 starts from about 2 weeks after the first dose. While one dose may give some protection, it may only last for the short term. Two doses will give optimal protection. No vaccine is 100% effective, so it is possible that you can still get infected and sick from COVID-19 after vaccination.

The virus that causes COVID-19 could potentially still infect a vaccinated person. Even if they have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, they could still pass it on to others. However, the COVID-19 vaccines currently used in Australia are effective in reducing the likelihood of a vaccinated person transmitting the virus to close contacts if the person is infected.

This is why it is important to continue other preventative measures like:

  • physical distancing
  • hand washing
  • wearing a face mask
  • COVID-19 testing and quarantine/isolation as required by your state/territory.

If you have been vaccinated with two doses of Moderna, you should still get a COVID-19 test if you have symptoms that meet testing criteria according to your local health authority (such as fever, cough, sore throat).

Moderna has been safely given to hundreds of millions of people around the world. The Moderna and Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccines both have a very rare risk of heart inflammation (myocarditis or pericarditis). This is more commonly seen in males aged under 40 after the second dose. In some countries, myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported more commonly after Moderna than after Pfizer. Most people who have had these conditions after their vaccine have recovered fully. The benefits of vaccination outweigh this very rare risk and vaccination is still recommended for all eligible age groups.

For current information on the frequency and severity of myocarditis and pericarditis following Moderna and Pfizer, please refer to the weekly updates published by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

People aged 6 years and over can receive Moderna for their primary course.

Moderna is not approved for use in younger children.

For more information about vaccination in children aged 6 to 11 years.

A booster dose refers to an additional vaccine dose after the primary vaccine course.

Some people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are recommended to have an additional winter booster dose from 4 months after the first booster.

For more information on booster and winter doses.

To be considered up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, you must have completed all the doses recommended for your age and health status.

Find out about how to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.

You should not receive this vaccine if you have had:

  • anaphylaxis (a type of severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (i.e. Moderna/Pfizer)
  • anaphylaxis after exposure to any component of the vaccine, including polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • any other serious adverse event that following review by an experienced immunisation provider or medical specialist was attributed to a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (i.e. Moderna or Pfizer) and without another cause identified.

People with certain conditions may need additional precautions such as staying for 30 minutes of observation after having their vaccine or consulting an allergy specialist. Tell your immunisation provider if you have had:

  • an allergic reaction to a previous dose or to an ingredient of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (i.e. Moderna or Pfizer)
  • anaphylaxis to other vaccines or to other medicines – your provider can check to ensure there are no common ingredients with the COVID-19 vaccine you are receiving
  • confirmed mastocytosis with recurrent anaphylaxis that requires treatment.

If you have a bleeding disorder or you are taking a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant), tell your immunisation provider. Your immunisation provider can help determine whether it is safe for you to have an intramuscular injection and help decide the best timing for injection.

People with a history of any of the following conditions can receive Moderna but advice should be sought from a GP, immunisation specialist or cardiologist about the best timing of vaccination and whether any additional precautions are recommended:

  • recent (i.e. within the past 3 months) or current inflammatory cardiac illness e.g. myocarditis and pericarditis
  • acute rheumatic fever or acute rheumatic heart disease (i.e., with active myocardial inflammation)
  • acute decompensated heart failure.

Tell your doctor if you had myocarditis or pericarditis diagnosed after a previous dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

People with immunocompromise includes those who have a medical condition that weakens their immune system. It also includes those who may be taking medications that suppress their immune system. Moderna is not a live vaccine. It is safe in people with immunocompromise.

People with severe immunocompromise 5 years and older are recommended to have a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for their primary course.

Severely immunocompromised people aged 12 years and over who received a third primary dose are recommended to receive a booster dose (i.e. 4th dose) at 3 months, in line with the timing of the general population.

In addition, some people aged over 16 years at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are recommended to have a winter booster ( i.e. 5th dose) dose from 4 months after their first booster.

People with immunocompromise, including those living with HIV, have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including a higher risk of death. Since some people with immunocompromise may have a reduced response to the vaccine, it is important to consider other preventative measures such as physical distancing after vaccination.

Pregnant women and adolescents should be routinely offered Pfizer or Moderna, at any stage of pregnancy. If you are trying to become pregnant you do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.

Pregnant women with COVID-19 have an increased risk of severe illness and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Real-world evidence has shown that Moderna is safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding women. You can discuss the decision in relation to timing of vaccination with your health professional.

If you are breastfeeding, you can have Moderna. You do not need to stop breastfeeding after vaccination.

Pregnant women aged 16 years or older who received their primary COVID-19 vaccination course 3 or more months ago are recommended to have a booster dose.

If you have had COVID-19 in the past, tell your immunisation provider.  You should wait 3 months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection to have a COVID-19 vaccine dose. If you have ongoing illness from COVID-19, discuss the best timing of vaccination with your treating doctor.

If you have been infected and are required to receive COVID-19 vaccination, a temporary medical exemption may be applicable. You should speak with your healthcare provider about what is best for them. Providers are advised to only provide temporary exemptions for a period of up to 4 months post-infection. This is due to the increased risk of reinfection after this time. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) assesses all vaccines in Australia. This ensures that, in order for a vaccine to be approved, it is safe, effective and manufactured to a very high quality standard. A description of the process for approval of COVID-19 vaccines is available.

The safety of COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be monitored closely throughout the COVID- 19 vaccination program.

You can report suspected side effects to your vaccination provider or other healthcare professional. They will then make a formal report on your behalf to your state or territory health department or directly to the TGA.

If you would prefer to report it yourself, please visit reporting suspected side effects associated with a COVID-19 vaccine and follow the directions on the page.

Video type:
Publication date:
Last updated:

Help us improve

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