What is COVID-19 vaccine?

 

Vaccines stimulate the body’s natural defences to strengthen the immune system response to a condition or illness.  Vaccines use inactivated or severely weakened pathogens such as viruses or bacteria to trick the immune system into producing antibodies. After receiving a viral vaccine, the body’s immune system recognises and remembers the virus.

If you should be exposed to the virus later, your immune system can fight off an infection more effectively because it has already produced antibodies to the virus. 

 

The development of an effective vaccine for COVID-19 has been a global public health challenge.  The race continues to manufacture and distribute effective and safe vaccines to billions of people. 

How is a COVID-19 vaccine approved?

 

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is responsible for assessing all COVID-19 vaccines before they can be used in Australia.  Before a vaccine is approved for use in Australia, it must pass the TGA’s rigorous assessment and approval processes.  This includes assessment of its safety, quality and effectiveness.  The TGA formally evaluates vaccines in multiple stages, and seeks out further information and clarification

COVID-19 Vaccinations for General Population

 

Advantage Pharmacies are happy to provide AstraZeneca, Moderna & Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations for our local area and the wider community.

COVID-19 vaccines help to protect our community against coronavirus by preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19.

The vaccines are free for everyone in Australia.

 

The recommended ages are different for each vaccine, as approved by the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA):

The AstraZeneca vaccine can be given to people aged 18 years and over

2 doses, 4 weeks apart, are required to complete the primary course of vaccination.

A booster dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is recommended to be used, and may be given 5 months after the second dose was administered, for people aged 18 years and over.

A booster dose is not currently recommended for people aged under 18 years, and there are currently no vaccines approved for use as a booster in this age group.

The Moderna vaccine can be given to people aged 12 years and over.

2 doses, 4 weeks apart, are required to complete the primary course of vaccination.

A booster dose of this same vaccine may be given 5 months after the second dose was administered, for people aged 18 years and over.

A booster dose is not currently recommended for people aged under 18 years, and there are currently no vaccines approved for use as a booster in this age group.

 

The Pfizer vaccine can be given to people aged 12 years and over.

2 doses, 3-6 weeks apart, are required to complete the primary course of vaccination.

A booster dose of this same vaccine may be given 5 months after the second dose was administered, for people aged 18 years and over.

A booster dose is not currently recommended for people aged under 18 years, and there are currently no vaccines approved for use as a booster in this age group.

 

You can book online by visiting our booking link to get your first and second doses (primary course of vaccination) and your booster dose at any of our participating pharmacies.

COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children aged 5 – 11 Years

 

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program will be extended to all children aged 5 to 11 from 10 January 2022 after the Australian Government accepted recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

 

A new formulation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) is available for use in children aged 5-11 years by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Children aged 5-11 years who have previously had COVID-19 infection can receive the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

This is recommended following recovery from their illness or vaccination can be deferred for up to 6 months.

 

The recommended schedule for vaccination in this age group is 2 doses, 8 weeks apart.

The interval can be shortened in special circumstances to a minimum of 3 weeks, such as in an outbreak response, prior to the initiation of significant immunosuppression or international travel.

Children who turn 12 after their first dose may receive the adolescent/adult formation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to complete their primary vaccine course.

A booster dose is not currently recommended for people aged under 18 years, and there are currently no vaccines approved for use as a booster in this age group.

You can now book online for your children by visiting our booking link at any of our participating pharmacies.

 

COVID-19 Boosters

Good news Australia! COVID-19 Boosters doses are now available for our local area and wider community. COVID-19 Boosters are now available at selected Advantage Pharmacies

 

You are eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose if:

  • you are 18 years and older

  • have had your second dose of your primary dose course of COVID-19 vaccination at least 3 months ago, irrespective of the vaccine brand used for their primary course.

The date you had your second dose of vaccine is on your COVID-19 digital certificate.

A booster dose is not currently recommended for people aged under 18 years, and there are currently no vaccines approved for use as a booster in this age group.

 

 

 

 

What are the benefits of COVID-19 Boosters?

 

Two doses of COVID-19 vaccine provide a very good protection, a booster dose ensures the protection from the first dose is even stronger and longer lasting.  The booster dose will increase your protection against infection with the virus and prevent severe illness if you should catch the virus.

What are the potential side effects after receiving my booster?

 

Common, mild side effects following a booster dose look like the side effects following the first 2 doses.  The following are common adverse effects:

  • site pain

  • fatigue

  • headache

  • muscle pain and chills

3rd primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine for individuals who are severely immunocompromised

 

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends a 3rd primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in severely immunocompromised populations to address the risk of suboptimal or non-response to the standard 2 dose schedule.

The 3rd  dose is intended to maximise the level of immune response to as close as possible to the general population.

It is recommended that all individuals aged 12 years and over with certain conditions or on therapies leading to severe immunocompromise as listed in Box 1 of this document, receive a 3rd primary dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

An mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) is preferred to Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) for this 3rd dose.

The recommended interval for the 3rd dose is 2 - 6 months after the 2nd dose of vaccine.

A booster dose on top of the 3rd primary dose is currently not recommended for people who are severely immunocompromised and have already had this 3rd primary dose.

 

 

Preparing for Your Vaccination

 

COVID-19 vaccinations are voluntary and free.

Before your vaccination appointment, you should make sure your details are up to date with Medicare.

 

If you don’t have your account set up, you can:

 

If you don’t have a Medicare card, or are not eligible for Medicare, you can get your free vaccination at a Commonwealth Vaccination Clinic or a state or territory vaccination clinic. More information is available on the Department of Health website here.

 

Please do not come to your vaccination appointment:

 

  • if you are feeling unwell with fever, cough, runny nose or other symptoms that could be from COVID-19

  • if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, or have tested positive for COVID-19

  • if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, or

  • if you are in quarantine


If you have had another vaccine in the 7 days before your COVID-19 vaccine appointment, please let your local pharmacy know as we may need to reschedule your appointment.


If you cannot make it to your vaccination appointment, please contact your local Chemist as soon as possible to arrange a new appointment.

You may have other questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please see our frequently asked questions page HERE.

 

Last Updated: 20th January 2022

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What should I do whilst I wait for my COVID-19 vaccine?

 

Whether you are vaccinated or not, there are things you can do to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. You must:

  • stay 1.5 metres away from other people and avoid handshakes and contact with people outside your household

  • stay home if you feel unwell and get tested for COVID-19. 

  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitiser

  • always cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue and put the tissue in the bin straight away

  • download the COVIDSafe app to help health officials let you know if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19

 

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, visit health.gov.au HERE