How Do I Know When To Get The Covid-19 Vaccine?

The Covid-19 vaccine has arrived and is in full swing of being administered with the first rollout happening and phase 1b now underway. You’re not alone with questions on when to get the vaccine and how, so here are some answers to prepare for your vaccine.

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covid-19 vaccine

Who can be vaccinated?

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has advised the Australian Government on which groups should be prioritised for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination in Australia. This advice is consistent with guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO). The rollout has been divided into two phases and five groups. Phase 1b is underway, and currently the top tier priority groups are people in aged care facilities and quarantine workers. At this stage, there is no need to register for the vaccine; employers will contact people in the first phase. The second phase will be offered by the end of October 2021, though delays in exact dates may occur. If you’re in the latter group, it means you are in a more low-risk category. The strategy is designed to prioritise the most at-risk people and those at the most risk of exposure and severe disease.

Which vaccine will I get?

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends that the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca is preferred for adults over 50 years old and the Pfizer (Comirnaty) is preferred in adults aged under 50 years. This recommendation is based on:
  • the increasing risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 in older adults (and hence a higher benefit from vaccination), and
  • a potentially increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia following AstraZeneca vaccine in those under 50 years.
The COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine can be used in adults aged under 50 years where the benefits clearly outweigh the risk for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits. AstraZeneca will continue providing further data on safety, quality and effectiveness to the TGA. As part of Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategy, the Australian Government has secured 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with 50 million to be manufactured onshore.

Who is in each of the groups?

The Government has divided Australian residents into five major priority groups, each with up to six sub-groups. To find out more of what group you’re in, you can look up the Governments online vaccine eligibility checker. Group 1a and 1b
  • Quarantine and border workers
  • Front-line health care workers in priority sub-groups
  • Aged and disability care workers
  • Aged and disability care residents
Group 2a and 2b
  • Adults aged 80 years and older
  • Adults aged 70-79 years
  • Other health care workers
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 55 years and older
  • Adults 18 years and older with underlying health conditions, including those with a disability
  • Critical and high-risk workers, including defence, emergency services and meat processing
Group 3
  • Adults aged 60-69 years
  • Adults aged 50-59 years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18 – 54 years
  • Other critical and high-risk workers
Group 4
  • All other adults
Group 5
  • People under 18 years if recommended

Where will I get the vaccine?

If you’re in phase 1, the vaccine will be available at approximately 30-50 hospital sites around Australia, and doses will also be delivered in residential aged care and disability care facilities.

The Government will then expand to more than 1,000 places where people can get a jab, including GPs, vaccination clinics, and Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services.

What to bring to your vaccination appointment?

You should bring the following to your COVID-19 vaccination appointment:

  • Photo ID, if you have one.
  • Medicare card, if you have one.
  • Employee ID if you are getting a COVID-19 vaccine because of your occupation.
  • Information about any of your medical conditions, allergies, bleeding disorders or immunocompromised (i.e. weakened immune system).
  • Information about any medications you are taking.
  • Information about any previous COVID-19 vaccine received (vaccine brand and date of vaccination).
  • Information about any reactions you have had to any vaccine in the past.
  • Name of your current GP/s and any specialist doctors you see.
  • A face mask (if required by your state/territory).
Use the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker to find out when you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Whether you are in a priority group or not, the best thing you can do is stay up to date and continue to be COVIDSafe. The Australian Government will provide further information about how vaccines will roll out over the coming months. For more information or if you are feeling unwell, book a consultation with your GP doctor in Rockhampton at Wandal Medical Centre.

Disclaimer: The information above is correct at time of publishing.


Dr. Priyanta Thotagamuwa (MBBS, FRACGP)

Dr. Priyanta Thotagamuwa (MBBS, FRACGP)

Dr. Priyanta Thotagamuwa (MBBS, FRACGP) is operating Wandal Medical Centre in Rockhampton with the aim and interest of treating patients in a holistic manner. As a GP he offers medical assistance to patients of all ages, seeking advice, treatment or minor procedures.