About COVID-19 vaccines

Last Updated: 04 Jan 2022 9:47am

COVID-19 vaccines in Tasmania

Everyone living in Tasmania aged 12 years and over is eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine.

Three vaccines have been approved for use in Australia.

Vaccine brand

When you should get your second dose

Age you can get the vaccine

Where to get it

Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine

3 weeks after your first dose

People aged 12 years and over

State-run clinic, GP, or pharmacy

Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine

4 weeks after your first dose

People aged 12 years and over


AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine

12 weeks after your first dose

People aged 60 years and over

GP or pharmacy

You will need two doses of the vaccine. The intervals recommended above give the greatest protection against COVID-19.

Find out more about where to get vaccinated by visiting Book Your Vaccine.

Learn more about the vaccines

Pfizer vaccine factsheets:

Moderna vaccine factsheets:

AstraZeneca vaccine factsheets:

Benefits of vaccination

Being vaccinated reduces your risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.

By getting a COVID vaccine you can help protect yourself, your community, and Tasmania from COVID-19.

The more people who are vaccinated, the more we can reduce the health, social and economic impacts of COVID. Every dose of vaccine makes a difference.

Vaccines are safe and effective

Before COVID-19 vaccines are used in Australia, they must pass strict safety standards set by Australia's independent medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA is also continuing to rigorously monitor the safety of these vaccines.

The COVID-19 vaccines being used in Australia have been used by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

These vaccines are very effective at preventing infection with COVID-19, and serious illness from COVID-19, including new variants of COVID-19.

Learn more about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

Boosters and third doses

Booster vaccines are recommended for all people aged 18 and over. You can get a booster vaccine four months after your second dose of the vaccine.

Boosters are recommended to maintain protection and immunity against COVID-19.

A third primary dose of vaccination is recommended for people who are severely immunocompromised as part of their primary course of vaccination because they might not be fully protected by the regular two doses of a vaccine.

A third primary dose is different to a booster vaccine and should be given between two and six months after their second dose of the vaccine.

For more information visit Boosters and Third Primary Doses.

Proof of vaccination

You can access a free record of vaccination or a COVID-19 digital certificate online via MyGov through your Medicare or My Health Record  account.

For step-by-step help to get your vaccination record or COVID-19 digital certificate, visit the Services Australia  website. If you need more help or can’t get online, ring the Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809.

For more information about accessing your immunisation history or showing you’ve received the vaccine through myGov, visit Services Australia .

Mandatory vaccination

Generally, the vaccination program is voluntary, but there are many locations, venues and events where being fully vaccinated is a condition of entry and some employment settings where the vaccine is mandatory.

For more information about mandatory vaccination including details of any exemptions that may apply, visit Business and employees.

Vaccine side effects

These are some common reactions to COVID-19 vaccinations that are generally mild and on average last a day or two. These common side effects include:

  • pain where you had the injection
  • tiredness
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • fever and chills
  • joint pain.

Serious side effects such as severe allergic reactions (or anaphylaxis) are extremely rare.

Reporting symptoms following vaccination

Reporting your symptoms after a vaccination helps ensure COVID-19 vaccines are delivered as safely as possible in Tasmania.

You can report your symptoms following vaccination to the Department of Health, Tasmania by calling the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or emailing a completed form (Word and PDF) to tas.aefi@health.tas.gov.au.

Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you have severe symptoms, symptoms that are not going away after a few days, or are otherwise concerned about side effects.

Your options if you are worried about side effects

  • Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider
  • Check your side effects using the Australian Government Department of Health Side Effect Checker
  • Call the Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 020 080 (available 24 hours a day)
  • Call 000 if you have difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, are wheezing, or are otherwise seriously unwell.

The Pfizer vaccine and rare heart conditions

Two very rare heart conditions (pericarditis or myocarditis) may occur in a small group of people who receive the Pfizer vaccine.

This appears to occur more commonly in men under the age of 30 years old, and after the second dose.

The benefits of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in protecting against COVID-19 greatly outweigh the rare risk of these conditions.

After your Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, talk to your doctor immediately if:

  • You have an expected side effect of the vaccine which has not gone away after a few days.
  • You feel pain or pressure in your chest.
  • It hurts when you breathe.
  • You find it hard to take deep breaths.
  • You have an irregular heartbeat, skipped beats or 'fluttering' feelings in your chest.

For more on cardiac side effects after COVID-19 vaccination.

The AstraZeneca vaccine and a rare blood clotting condition

A very rare and unusual blood clotting and low platelet count condition (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS) may occur in a small group of people who get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The condition affects about one out of every 100,000 people after the first dose and can be diagnosed rapidly and effectively treated.

The symptoms mostly start between 4 and 20 days after vaccination.

After your AstraZeneca vaccine, talk to your doctor immediately if:

  • You have an expected side effect of the vaccine that has not gone away after a few days
  • You have any of the following symptoms, particularly between 4 and 42 days after vaccination:
    • A headache that keeps coming back. It might:
      • be mild or strong
      • be present beyond 48 hours after vaccination, or come later than 48 hours after vaccination
      • feel worse when you lie down
      • go away for a little while when you take pain relief like paracetamol, but then it comes back
    • Nausea or vomiting.
    • Blurred vision, difficulty speaking, drowsiness or confusion, or seizures.
    • Abdominal (belly) pain that won't go away.
    • Shortness of breath or chest pain.
    • Lower limb pain, redness or swelling.
    • Tiny blood spots under the skin away from the area where the injection was received.

For more information about AstraZeneca vaccine and TTS.

While the development and testing of COVID-19 vaccines has been quicker than usual, safety remains the top priority. Hundreds of millions of people are suffering from the ongoing social and economic devastation caused by the pandemic. The urgency of this crisis means that globally all available resources and efforts have been directed towards finding a safe and effective vaccine, and this includes in Australia.

In the past, the process of developing and licensing a vaccine has taken many years, but this has been shortened to within 12 months of the virus being discovered.

Some of the reasons for this rapid progress include:

Unprecedented funding and collaboration between vaccine developers and governments around the world. Significant financial investments were made, including building manufacturing facilities during the process of clinical trials, thereby speeding up the distribution process.

Technology has evolved, making vaccine development faster than in the past. Vaccine development requires understanding a virus’s genetic code. New technology enabled researchers to rapidly understand the genetic code of the COVID-19 virus. This allowed scientists around the world to start developing vaccines.

Clinical trials progress more quickly if a disease is widespread. Because so many people around the world have been sick with COVID-19, it has been easier to enroll people in trials and study the vaccine.

Importantly, COVID-19 vaccines must pass through the exact same rigor and phases of clinical trials as other vaccines and do not miss any important safety and quality checks along the way. Approval is only given if the vaccine works and meets the appropriate safety requirements.

In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) ensures there is an independent quality assessment of every vaccine batch in Australia before vaccines can be distributed.

Further information on the development and testing process can be found at Australia’s vaccine agreements | Australian Government Department of Health.

More information on the TGA batch assessment process can be found at Batch release assessment of COVID-19 vaccines | Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

All vaccines approved for use in Australia protect against COVID-19, including severe illness and death from COVID-19. Like all vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines work by training our immune systems to respond to a disease.

The virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is studded with spike proteins that it uses to enter human cells. COVID-19 vaccines present our immune system with a part of the virus, the spike protein, so that it is familiar with the virus and able to mount a strong immune response if it encounters the virus in the future.

You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

If you are between 12–59 years old you should get either of the mRNA vaccines – Pfizer or Moderna. The mRNA vaccines are preferred for those aged under 60 years old by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (ATAGI)  because of the increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopaenia syndrome (TTS) with AstraZeneca in younger people.

If you are 60 years old or older, you should get whichever vaccine is available for you. This includes AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna.

The expert medical advice from ATAGI is that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risk of TTS in people over 60 years old.  You should not get an mRNA vaccine -- Pfizer or Moderna -- if you have:

A history of anaphylaxis to Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or their components, including polyethyelene glycol (PEG).

Myocarditis and/or pericarditis linked to a previous dose of either Pfizer or Moderna

A history of any other serious adverse event attributed by a specialist doctor to a previous dose of either Pfizer or  Moderna.

You should not get an AstraZeneca vaccine if you have:

  • A history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis
  • A history or heparin-induced thrombocytopenia
  • A history of idiopathic splanchnic (mesenteric, portal and splenic) venous thrombosis
  • A history of capillary leak syndrome
  • A history of anti-phospholipid syndrome with miscarriage or thrombosis
  • A history of anaphylaxis to a AstraZeneca vaccine, or an ingredient of the vaccine, including polysorbate 80
  • Thrombosis with thrombocytopaenia syndrome (TTS) after the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, or
  • A history of other serious adverse event attributed by a specialist to a previous dose of AstraZeneca vaccine

People of any age who have already received their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine without a serious adverse event can  safely receive their second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine as recommended by ATAGI.

Yes. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) recommend that pregnant people are routinely offered Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of pregnancy. This is because the risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 is significantly higher for a pregnant person and their unborn baby.

Global surveillance data from large numbers of pregnant people has not identified any significant safety concerns with mRNA COVID- 19 vaccines given at any stage of pregnancy. There is also evidence of antibody in cord blood and breastmilk, which may offer protection to infants through passive immunity.

Pregnant people are encouraged to discuss getting vaccinated with their health professional. People trying to get pregnant do not  need to delay getting vaccinated or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.

All viruses change or mutate. It is anticipated that the mRNA vaccines – including Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) – and AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine will be effective against the newer strains or mutations of COVID-19.

This is because the vaccines work by inducing what is known as a "polyclonal" response – a collection of immunological responses to many different parts of the COVID "spike" protein. In the new strains or mutations, most of the spike protein stays the same and only a limited part of the spike protein is changed. So the vaccines should still work against the main, unchanged parts to the COVID-19 spike protein. Researchers are still investigating this and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is monitoring this as part of their vaccine approval and monitoring process.

If necessary, it is possible to slightly change the vaccine composition quickly to respond to new variants. This is done every year for the influenza vaccine to keep pace with the natural evolution of the circulating influenza virus.

Yes. You can still spread the virus even after you’ve been vaccinated although it is thought to be less likely.

Less than 48 hours after vaccination:

Mild side effects following vaccination are common and tend to occur 1-2 days after vaccination. If you experience fever, fatigue or headache within 48 hours of a COVID-19 vaccination, COVID-19 testing may not be required. If you experience respiratory symptoms, such as a sore throat, runny nose or cough, a COVID-19 test is recommended.

Beyond 48 hours after vaccination:

If you experience fever, fatigue or headache beyond 48 hours following vaccination or you experience any respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat or cough, a COVID-19 test is recommended.

For more questions and answers, please see: COVID-19 vaccines – Is it true? | Australian Government Department of Health.

For more information about Australia’s vaccine rollout program, visit: Australian Government Department of Health.

For more information about the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s vaccine approval process: TGA COVID vaccines

You can find information on COVID-19 vaccines in languages other than English on the Australian Government Department of Health’s website.

Other reputable information about vaccines is available from:

Australian Academy of Science

World Health Organisation 

National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance

Melbourne Vaccination Education Centre 

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance has a comprehensive frequently asked questions list, that you can check out if you have other questions not answered here.