COVID-19 VACCINATION ROLLOUT

20 March 2021

The next phase

People with disability who have serious health problems are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. Their carers–paid and unpaid–are also eligible under Phase 1b of the rollout. Getting vaccinated is an effective way to protect you, the people around you, and the community.

Two vaccines have been approved by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) in Australia. You will be offered either the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, depending on which vaccination clinic you go to. Pfizer is the preferred vaccine for people aged under 50 who have not already received a first dose of AstraZeneca safely. Both vaccines are particularly effective in preventing people from becoming severely ill, needing hospitalisation, or dying from COVID-19. Both vaccines are administered in two doses. For more information:

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination information sheet
Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information sheet

You can make a booking for a COVID-19 vaccination via the online Healthdirect service, or you can contact your general practitioner directly to explore your options. COVID-19 vaccines are free.

For more information in accessible formats such as Easy Read, Auslan, and additional languages, please see the resources section at the bottom of this document.

Am I eligible, and if so, how do I make a booking?

The Healthdirect COVID-19 Vaccine Booking Service is designed to help you find out when you can receive your vaccine and to book an appointment if you are eligible. You will be offered details for local clinics based on the postcode you enter and you’ll be able to contact the clinic of your choice directly to make a booking.

Step 1
Visit the Australian Government Vaccine Eligibility Checker and complete the questions on the interactive checklist.

Question 8 is Do you have an underlying medical condition? Click on the How do I know if this applies to me? button for more information.

Step 2
If you have any of the underlying healthy conditions listed, the eligibility checker will display the message:

Based on the information you gave us, you are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccination.

We are currently in Phase 1b.

Phase 1b vaccinations will commence on 22nd March 2021.

General practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and GP-led respiratory clinics will begin to have appointments available, with numbers increasing over a 4-week period.

Click below to go to the Vaccine Clinic Finder to see clinics near you that will have the vaccine in this phase.

Scroll to the bottom of that page and click ‘Make a booking’.

Step 3
To find COVID-19 vaccination clinics near you, enter your postcode or town into the dialog box and click ‘search’.

You will be provided with a number of different clinics offering the vaccine, including address and contact details so you can contact the clinic of your choice directly to book a time.

While you are waiting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please review the information at this Department of Health page, What should I do before I get vaccinated for COVID-19? Australians are being advised to wait two weeks between getting the seasonal flu and COVID-19 vaccines. 

Who can I contact for more information?

The National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline is a reliable resource for people who have questions about COVID-19 or the vaccine rollout. The hotline can also provide you with answers via text.

National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline: 1800 020 080

If you prefer not to provide any extra details, that’s your choice. The helpline can help you to be completely anonymous.

You can also click here to ask the Australian Government about the COVID-19 vaccine. You will need to leave an email address to receive a response.

If you have any specific questions, PWDA can follow them up on your behalf. Email us at: policy@pwd.org.au.

Resources

NSW Government
Australian Government

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are there different phases in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout?

A: Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program has four phases. This is to ensure people most at risk of getting the virus, or of getting seriously ill if they do get COVID-19, can get the vaccination first.  

Q: Who goes first?

A: Phase 1a has been running for a few weeks. It is for people living and working in residential aged and disability settings, and frontline workers such as emergency department staff and paramedics. 

Q: What next?

A: Phase 1b starts on Monday 22nd March. Adults with disability and an underlying health condition are advised to speak to your GP about your eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccination.

Q: Do I have to get the vaccination?

A: The vaccination is voluntary – no-one has to have it and no-one can be made to have it. 

Q: Where do I get it?

A: Vaccinations will be given at different places including GP clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Centres and Vaccination Hubs. People can start making appointments, but it may take some time for the doctors to give the vaccine to everyone.

Q: Why get vaccinated?

A: Some people with a disability are at greater risk of becoming very sick if they catch COVID-19. Getting vaccinated is a safe and effective way of protecting you, your family and the community.

Q: Can I take a support person with me when I receive the vaccination?

A: If you usually take a support person to see the doctor then you should bring one to this appointment too.

Q: I am sensitive to noise and crowds. Will there be a separate area for people who are receiving the vaccination to wait?

A: This may depend on the clinic or medical centre you book at. If you’re concerned, you can contact the clinic to discuss. You can also contact your own GP, who is used to providing these adjustments.

Q: Can someone come to my home to give me the vaccine?

A: If you need someone to come to your home you should contact your regular GP or disability service provider.

Q: Can I have the flu vaccination at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccination to save a trip?

A: Australians are advised to wait two weeks between getting the flu vaccination and COVID-19 vaccines – but it doesn’t matter which one you have first.

Q: I live in a country town. Will I be able to get a vaccine where I live?

A: The Australian Government have stated that they are committed to ensuring people living in regional, rural and remote locations have access to a vaccination.  If you are concerned, check your state’s vaccination roll-out information.

Q: Who gives the injection?

A: Medical professionals such as nurses and doctors can give the injection, as long as they are registered and trained to do so.

Q: Can I bring a carer/family member/ interpreter? 

A: Yes. People with disability can choose to attend their vaccination appointment with someone they feel comfortable with. This could be a support worker, family member, carer or friend.

Q: How long do I have to wait before I have the second dose?

A: Your vaccination provider can tell you when to come back.

Q: What happens if I get the first dose of the vaccine but decide not to get the second?

A: Two doses will be needed to offer the best protection. You will not be considered fully vaccinated unless you have your second dose.

Q: What happens if I feel sick after I go home?

A: You can discuss any symptoms with your doctor or nurse. The medic will report them to the TGA on your behalf. If your symptoms are serious you should call 000.

For more information:

  • visit www.health.gov.au or call the Disability Gateway on
    1800 643 787 for information which is also available in accessible formats
  • call 1800-VACCINE to discuss your questions.