Vaccine rollout update – here’s what we know

As the Australian rollout ramps up, remember to stay calm, get vaccinated and talk to your local GP about what you need to do.

When can you get vaccinated?

Key Points

  • As of Thursday 25 March, Australia’s rollout of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines continues after authorities declare it safe 
  • Vaccines will be administered through GP clinics and 100 Commonwealth centres 
  • 6 million vulnerable Australians are now eligible for a vaccine, including those aged over 70

Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout began on Monday, 22 March.

This phase enables six million vulnerable Australians, including those aged over 70, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged over 55, and other healthcare workers to get the jab.

Vaccines will be administered through over 1,000 GP clinics, supported by 100 Commonwealth centres.

While GP clinics are reportedly being inundated with calls for bookings please bear in mind there will be enough vaccine for everyone in due course. 

Given the high volume of enquires its important to only contact them about the vaccine if you are eligible.

There is no need to panic if you miss out this week on getting the vaccine. Practices are working hard to make sure everyone who is eligible will receive it in due course.

The federal government advises Australians eligible for Phase 1B will be able to find a vaccination provider through the new national vaccination information and location service, located at the Department of Health website.  

This will enable people to locate their nearest general practice providing General Practice Respiratory Clinic vaccinations and link through to their online booking system or phone number to make the appointment.

Appointments on the service finder will increase as general practices establish their systems and vaccine supply. More appointments will become available as more clinics come on-board.

People will still be able to book their vaccine appointments directly at a participating general practice – as they do now, for instance, to get a seasonal flu vaccine. 

What should you do?

The best approach is to contact your GP to find out what arrangements they are putting in place. You do not have to make the appointment online if you do not want to.

If your GP practice is not delivering the vaccine, then you can ask them who they recommend, rather than cold calling other practices. GPs may have already made arrangements for their patients.

If you have any questions about the vaccine, ask your GP.

A consent form needs to be signed for the vaccine and it may be worth getting a copy of this prior to the vaccination date so you can view and complete in advance. 

The Flu vaccine season is also imminent

It is important to receive all your vaccines at your GP if possible so your vaccination history can be tracked. This is to allow enough space between receiving the Flu vaccination and the COVID-19 vaccination.

  • The flu shot should not be given within two weeks of a COVID-19 shot.
  • If you are in an Aged Care home (or related staff) you can receive the Pfizer vaccine and the doses should be 3 weeks apart.
  • If you are outside an Aged Care home you can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine and the doses should be 12 weeks apart.

Partial protection against COVID-19 may be as soon as 12 days after the first dose.

Optimal protection will occur approximately 1-2 weeks after your second dose.

Because the effect of having the flu shot close to the COVID-19 shot is unknown – it’s important to get both through your GP to ensure they are adequately spaced.

If you would like to learn more about preparing for your appointment, please read this Health Department fact sheet.

Your GP will respond to any questions or concerns you have.

While it is a bit of a logistical exercise juggling the flu and COVID-19 vaccination, GPs are factoring this into their planning.