COVID-19 Vaccination Toolkit

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

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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.

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I'm worried

Addressing uncertainty around vaccine safety and COVID-19

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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, young people are at risk of getting COVID-19.

The Delta strain of COVID-19 is affecting young and old people alike.

If you are unvaccinated, you are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and of experiencing severe symptoms.

Of the people admitted to Victorian hospitals with severe COVID-19, the vast majority are unvaccinated.

For example, on 8 October 2021, of the 620 people with COVID-19 in Victorian hospitals:

  • 66% were unvaccinated
  • 26% had received one dose
  • 8% had received two doses

The Victorian Department of Health reports regularly on the vaccination rates of people in Victorian hospitals. To see the latest on how COVID-19 is impacting vaccinated people vs unvaccinated people, read through the daily Department of Health media releases at Media Hub - Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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 administered.

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.

COVID-19 is becoming the disease of the unvaccinated.

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:

  • 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 are scared of needles so they can reassure you. Lots of people are, and this is nothing to be ashamed of.

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 55% of people reported no side effects, and 44% of people reported some side effects.

Less than 1% reported visiting a doctor or emergency department after being vaccinated.

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.

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I'm confused

Addressing uncertainty around accessing vaccinations

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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.

I’m under 16 - can I get vaccinated yet?

Yes, if you are between 12 and 15 years old, you can get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Check out 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.

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 12 and over 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.

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

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:

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 has been reduced to 3 weeks, Moderna is 4 weeks, and AstraZeneca is 6 weeks.

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.

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.

9.

Do I need to get a booster shot?

If you are severely immunocompromised, you have the option to receive a third COVID-19 vaccine to boost your protection against COVID-19 to the highest level.

People needing a third dose are encouraged to contact a healthcare professional for advice.

You can find COVID-19 vaccination providers via the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder.

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Video interviews with young people

Check out what the 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.

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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.

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Acknowledgement of funding

This website has been developed with funding from the Victorian Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Champions 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.

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