COVID-19 Vaccination Toolkit

Help a mate out - reassure them that the vaccines are safe and help them get vaccinated.

Illustration of a picnic with three smiling women and a service dog. There are white flowers on the ground and beverages in cups. The woman to the left has a medium skin tone, long, straight brown hair and is in a wheelchair. The woman in the centre is wearing glasses, has pale skin, curly, strawberry blonde hair and is seated on a chair. The woman to the right has dark skin, hair that is black, short and curly and is sitting on a chair.

We know that there's a bunch of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccinations out in our communities. We're here to unpack and simplify some of the key uncertainties, to empower you to feel safe in your decision to get vaccinated, and to encourage your friends, family, and community to get vaccinated.

This website has been developed by and for young people, in conjunction with the Victorian Department of Health, to answer questions and concerns around COVID-19 vaccines. We address your questions about the safety of vaccines and provide solutions if you’re having trouble accessing the vaccine. We’ve also linked out to some helpful resources that we trust.

We need to keep having conversations with our friends, family and our community on the importance of getting vaccinated. The vaccine is the best defence against COVID-19 and the best way forward for our communities to safely come together again. Help a friend get vaccinated today.

Illustration of a person from behind waving at female nurse. The person waving has short brown hair and is wearing a green shirt and black pants. The nurse is blonde and is wearing PPE including a mask and face shield. She is wearing blue scrubs, is carrying a clipboard and has a stethoscope around her neck.
Illustration of a woman with a dark skin tone and black curly hair wearing a yellow mask and green and white checked shirt.

I'm worried

Addressing uncertainty around vaccine safety and COVID-19

Illustration of a woman with a dark skin tone and black curly hair wearing a yellow mask and green and white checked shirt.

1.

How are COVID-19 vaccinations tested for safety?

All COVID-19 vaccines were developed through the same processes as regular vaccines. No stages were skipped.

The three COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia are Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. All three were put through testing before being certified by the Australian vaccine regulators.

Testing involves carefully analysing clinical trial data, ingredients, manufacturing processes and other factors.

The vaccines are continually monitored with ongoing safety checks.

To find out more, you can visit the websites of the Australian vaccine regulators:

2.

I’m young. Am I at risk of getting COVID-19?

Yes. People aged 20-29 years old have the 2nd highest number of COVID-19 infections of all age-groups in Victoria.

  • About 4,000 Victorians aged 20-29 years old have COVID-19 (as at early February 2022)
  • About 3,000 Victorians aged 10-19 years old have COVID-19 (as at early February 2022)

To find out more about active COVID-19 cases by age group, gender or location, see Victorian COVID-19 data.

If you are unvaccinated, you are at higher risk of:

  • contracting COVID-19
  • experiencing severe illness
  • passing it on to your loved ones, including family and friends.

3.

Are the vaccines safe in the long term?

Yes, the three vaccines approved in Australia are all safe in the long term.

Historically, research has shown that if a vaccine creates side effects, these appear within six weeks of being vaccinated.

Side effects after six weeks for any vaccination are very rare. Globally, the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered since the start of 2021. There is no evidence to suggest any long-term side effects.

However, the short and long-term side effects of COVID-19 are pretty bad, and we’re seeing healthy young people be affected by it too.

If you are unvaccinated, you are at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

4.

I’m scared of needles - what can I do?

Needles can definitely be scary for some people!

Some ways to prepare for the vaccine are:

  • You may prefer to receive your vaccination at a smaller centre, such as a doctor’s clinic or pharmacy. Larger vaccination centres can be loud and busy, which may add to your distress.
  • Mentally prepare beforehand - know what to expect, and stay calm.
  • Take a support person with you - you are allowed to have 1 person come with you and sit near you.
  • Tell the healthcare professional giving you your vaccine that you’re scared of needles, so they can reassure you. Lots of people are, and this is nothing to be ashamed of.

If you have a needle phobia, reach out to support services that can assist you in getting vaccinated in a calm way.

For support services and strategies, visit the Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre website.

5.

What side effects might I expect from the vaccine?

It’s normal to feel a bit unwell after vaccination, usually only for a day or two. You’ll be able to check your side effects online, or call a 24-hour health line. If your side effects are mild but you’re unfit to work, ask your boss for paid sick leave.

Serious side effects are rare. Recent data shows that in Australia, about 54% of people reported no side effects, and 45% of people reported some side effects.

About 1% of people reported visiting a doctor or emergency department after being vaccinated. To find out more about COVID-19 vaccine safety data, visit the AusVaxSafety website.

The side effects may include:

  • Pain or tenderness at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Most side effects go away within a few days. You can address them by resting and, if you wish, taking a mild painkiller.

You can check your side effects by using the COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effect Checker.

6.

I trust my immune system, it’s healthy - will I really get COVID-19?

It doesn’t matter how strong your immune system is: without a vaccine, you are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

And if you get COVID-19, you risk passing it on to someone who does not have as strong an immune system as you, such as an older family member.

Illustration of a person with a medium skin tone and short brown hair wearing a white mask, yellow shirt and blue hat.

I'm confused

Addressing uncertainty around accessing vaccinations

Illustration of a person with a medium skin tone and short brown hair wearing a white mask, yellow shirt and blue hat.

1.

How do I book a vaccination appointment?

To search for a vaccination clinic near you, go online:

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder (includes GPs, pharmacies and vaccination centres)

OR

Book your vaccine appointment (vaccination centres only)

If you’d like to make a booking over the phone, call the Victorian Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. For an interpreter, press 0.

2.

How old do you have to be to get a vaccination?

Anyone aged 5 years and older can now receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Victoria. Children aged 5-11 years old will receive one third of the dose that is provided to older children and adults.

For more information, visit the Victorian Government’s: Vaccination information for children and teenagers.

3.

I don’t have a Medicare card. Can I still get vaccinated?

Yes. Anyone in Australia can get a COVID-19 vaccine, with or without a Medicare card.

If you don’t have a Medicare card or are not eligible for Medicare, you can get your free vaccination at:

People who don’t have Medicare cards may not be able to receive vaccination at doctors’ clinics.

If you are booking at a doctors’ clinic, ask them whether they will vaccinate you if you don’t have a Medicare card. This will save you the risk of turning up and being turned away from vaccination. You’ll then be able to book via the two options above (vaccination centre or pharmacy).

Once you receive your two doses, you are able to access your digital vaccination certificate through your Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI). You are able to do this through your MyGov account. You can get an IHI online - follow the steps provided through Services Australia.

To listen to these steps in a language other than English, visit SoundCloud.

4.

I can’t find information on how to book in my language

If you need an interpreter, call the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. For an interpreter, press 0.

For written resources: Translated information about COVID-19 vaccines.

5.

I have a disability that impacts my ability to access a vaccination hub. How can I get help?

We recommend checking out the Victorian Government’s: Vaccine information for people with disability.

On that page, there is information about how you can contact Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs).

These officers are available to help any person aged 5 years and older with a disability and additional access needs.

They can help organise a COVID-19 vaccination for you or a friend/family member that you are supporting in being vaccinated. They can also help you get vaccinated where you are more comfortable.

Many Victorian vaccination centres have enhanced accessibility, including on-site hearing augmentation devices and communication tools. You can view the full list of these centres at: Vaccine information for people with disability.

If you are deaf and/or find it hard hearing or speaking with people who use a phone, the National Relay Service (NRS) can help you.

Except for calls made through Video Relay, the NRS is available 24 hours a day, every day. All calls are confidential.

Use the following numbers depending on your needs:

Additional support is available for NDIS participants. Visit the NDIS Latest Advice website for further information.

6.

I want to be double vaccinated, but I don't know how long the wait time is between doses

You may be eligible to get your second dose sooner than you think. The wait times between Pfizer doses is 3 weeks, Moderna is 4 weeks, and AstraZeneca is 6 weeks.

A longer wait time applies for children aged 5-11 years. Generally, the wait time for this age-group is 8 weeks between the 1st and 2nd dose. This can be shortened to a minimum of 3 weeks in special circumstances, such as:

  • before international travel
  • before the start of significant immunosuppression.

You will get excellent protection against severe COVID-19 disease, if you get your second dose according to those wait times.

Don't delay your second dose (unless you absolutely have to).

You are only partially protected through your first dose. Your second dose is needed for you to have maximum protection against severe COVID-19 disease.

7.

I'm vaccinated - how do I access a digital vaccination certificate?

If you have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, you can access your digital vaccination certificate through your MyGov account.

We recommend logging onto your MyGov account on your phone, as you're then able to save it to your Services Victoria App, or your Digital Wallet.

For easy-to-understand instructions in languages other than English, visit the Victorian Government's Coronavirus website.

We've co-designed a poster with young people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities. We'd love you to share with local businesses, community leaders, and the general community. Help us share the message - access, and share it, from our COVID Safe Summer Comms: Collateral Pack!

8.

I don't have a Medicare Card - how do I access a digital vaccination certificate?

If you are not eligible for a Medicare Card, you are able to access your digital vaccination certificate through your Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI). You are able to do this through your MyGov account.

You can get an IHI online - follow the steps provided through Services Australia.

To listen to these steps in a language other than English, visit SoundCloud.

I want to know about boosters

Addressing your questions about boosters

Illustration of a nurse with short blonde hair wearing PPE and blue scrubs. They are holding a clipboard and have a stethoscope around their neck.

1.

Am I eligible for a booster shot?

You can get a booster shot now if you:

  • are 16 or older, and
  • had your 2nd dose three or more months ago.

You need a 3rd dose to keep up your immunity against COVID-19. It will make the protection you received from your first 2 doses even stronger and long lasting.

If you received your initial COVID-19 vaccination overseas, you may be eligible for a booster in Australia. To be eligible, you need to have received a vaccine overseas that is approved or recognised in Australia.

Common, mild side effects following a booster dose are like the side effects following the first 2 doses.

More information:

Australian Government website - Recommendations for a booster dose for 16-17 year olds

Australian Government website – COVID-19 Booster vaccine advice

2.

Do I need to get the same vaccine as a booster as my first and second shot?

If you are aged 16-17, you will receive the Pfizer vaccine as a booster, regardless of which vaccine you had for your first 2 doses. Pfizer is the only vaccine type approved as a booster dose for 16-17 year olds.

If you are aged 18 or older, you can have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster dose. This is regardless of which vaccine you had for your first 2 doses.

If you are aged 18 or older, you can also receive the AstraZeneca vaccine as a booster dose if you:

  • can’t have the Pfizer vaccine for medical reasons or
  • had 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine before.

3.

I'm under 16. Can I get a booster shot?

No. Australia's medical regulators are yet to recommend boosters for people under 16.

4.

I'm severely immunocompromised. Can I get a fourth shot as a booster?

Yes, if you are:

  • aged 16 or older, and
  • received your 3rd dose three or more months ago.

All severely immunocompromised people aged 5 years and over are eligible for a 3rd dose. You can receive a 3rd dose, two to six months after your 2nd dose.

The 3rd dose for severely immunocompromised people is not considered to be the same as a booster. Instead, it is part of a primary course of COVID-19 vaccination, to maximise your immune response.

A booster (4th dose) is now available for severely immunocompromised people aged 16 and over. This is so you can have a similar level of protection to a member of the general public who has received a booster (3rd dose).

More information:

Australian Government website: Recommendations on the use of a 3 rd primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised

Illustration of a a man with pale skin sitting on a couch smiling and looking at his smartphone. The couch has yellow checks and light blue cushions and is framed by two potted plants on both sides.

Video interviews with young people

Check out our chats about COVID-19 related issues facing five young people from multicultural communities.

Check out what the vaccination experience was like for three young people living with disability, and three young people from multicultural communities.

Trusted resources

We believe in making informed decisions. Check out the following links that lead to trusted websites.

Illustration of a a man with pale skin sitting on a couch smiling and looking at his smartphone. The couch has yellow checks and light blue cushions and is framed by two potted plants on both sides.

What is a trusted resource?

A trusted resource is information that is supported by scholarly research. This includes:

  • Information written by researchers that has been peer-reviewed.
  • Information that comes from a trusted source like government or organisational communications.

Jump to a section:

Trusted Resources

We believe in making informed decisions. Check out the following links that lead to trusted websites.

What is a trusted resource?

A trusted resource is information that is supported by scholarly research. This includes:

Disclaimer

This website is operated by YLab, which forms part of the Foundation for Young Australians.

The content of this website is provided for information purposes only.

While we have made every effort to make sure the information on this website is accurate, the information does not take the place of medical advice.

If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccination, you should speak to a doctor.

Illustration of a smiling, seated woman with dark skin and hair that is black, short and curly. She is wearing an orange button up shirt and blue pants with a yellow cuff. One of her hands is outstretched in a welcoming manner.

Acknowledgement of funding

This website has been developed with funding from the Victorian Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador program. YLab accepts full responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided.

Accessibility

YLab, as owner of this website, is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability.

This website aims to meet level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

If there is information on this website that you can't access, or have any suggestions on how we can improve the accessibility of this website, please email us at hello@ylab.global.

All constructive feedback regarding the accessibility or usability of this website is welcome and will be carefully considered.

Upwards arrow used to go back to the top of the page.