A vaccine is a safe way to protect people against serious illness from COVID-19. Just like the flu, it is important to get vaccinated to protect yourself, family, community and Elders. You won’t be forced to get the COVID-19 vaccination because it’s your choice to make but it is encouraged, so you can protect yourself and your mob.
Visit your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Service. They can answer your questions and book you in for an appointment.Find a clinic
Speak to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurse by calling
13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84). They’ll be able to tell you where you can get vaccinated.
If you live close to a pharmacy or hospital you can get vaccinated there. Click through and register your details to find your closest vaccine provider in Queensland.Find a clinic
Belinda Jackson is a health worker with Wuchopperen Health Service in Cairns. She was born and raised in Yarrabah and has been a health worker for five years and at Wuchopperen for two.
Fully-vaccinated QAIHC staff Policy Officer Andrew Goodman and Communications Officer, Jacob Pagan are helping spread the word to mob about making the choice to get vaccinated.
Dr Oscar Whitehead, Medical Lead for the Tropical Public Health Services First Nations COVID-19 Response Team, understands the value of a good yarn to help the vaccine hesitant have all the information they need when deciding about the jab.
Haylene Grogan, Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer and Deputy Director-General Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Division at Queensland Health, thinks getting a COVID jab is the best way to keep mob and the community safe.
It's good to ask questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. You should ask your doctor, your community health service or speak to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurse by calling 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84). You can also read through the list below, to help answer some of the questions you’ve got.
What is COVID-19 and how do I prevent getting it?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
It is spread by small liquid particles from an infected person’s mouth or nose such as when they cough or sneeze. It most commonly causes fever, cough and fatigue.
Some people will get severe disease and require hospitalisation for oxygen support or may need admission to the intensive care unit for breathing support. Those with severe disease are at risk of dying.
You can reduce your chance of contracting COVID-19 by getting your COVID-19 vaccination. Social distancing from other people, washing your hands regularly and wearing a mask also to prevent exposure to the particles transmitted by an infected person.
Can I still get sick from COVID-19?
The vaccine works by training your body to recognise and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It doesn’t mean you can’t get COVID-19, but evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at helping to prevent you from getting very sick, going to hospital, or dying from COVID-19.
Which vaccine will I get?
There are three vaccines currently available in Australia: the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for those 12 years and older. Pfizer is the preferred vaccine for adults under 60 years who have not already received their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is preferred for adults aged 60 years and over. This is due to the increase in risk for adults aged under 60 years in developing a very rare blood clotting disorder called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) (explained below), and the larger risk of adults aged 60 years and over in getting really sick from COVID-19.
Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine has also been approved for those 12 years and older and is the vaccine provided in many community pharmacies.
Those who live in rural or remote communities may be offered the Pfizer vaccine.
Do I have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone in Australia. Vaccination providers cannot charge you for the COVID-19 vaccine or for your appointments to receive the vaccine.
What are the side effects?
Common side effects are:
These side effects usually don’t last for more than a few days. You can report any side effects you have experienced by telling your doctor or health clinic.
Rare side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are:
If you have a side effect that worries you, or that last for more than a few days you should visit your doctor straight away.
Why do I need a second dose and when do I get it?
Currently, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved two vaccines in Australia: the Pfizer vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine. Both vaccines require two doses to be most effective (like a booster vaccination).
The Pfizer vaccine is most effective when you get your second dose 3 weeks after your first dose. The AstraZeneca vaccine is most effective when you get your second dose 12 weeks after your first dose, but it can be given within a shorter timeframe as low as 4 weeks apart if needed because of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the community. The Moderna vaccine is given 4 – 6 weeks apart.
It is important that every person receives the full two doses of the same vaccine. If you don’t get the second dose you will have lower immunity and it may not last as long. The person doing your vaccination will let you know what type of vaccine you received, and when you should book your second appointment.
If you don’t get your second dose at the recommended time, talk to your local healthcare worker to make a new time to get the vaccine.
Have a yarn with your doctor or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
Make an appointment to be vaccinated
Tell your mob you've been vaccinated
Book an appointment for your second jab and keep a reminder of the date somewhere handy
Keep practicing hand hygiene and social distancing
Get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land and sea where we live and work, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.
© Copyright 2021, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, Queensland Health and the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health. All rights reserved.