Free COVID-19 vaccine for international students

Free COVID-19 vaccine for international students

COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia, even if you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This includes people without a Medicare card, overseas visitors, international students, migrant workers and asylum seekers.

Who is eligible for vaccination?

The Australian Government wants everyone in Australia to have access to a safe, free, COVID-19 vaccine if they choose to be vaccinated.

You can check when and where you can receive a vaccine using the eligibility checker.

The Pfizer vaccine is prioritised for people under 60 years of age. The AstraZeneca vaccine is prioritised for people aged 60 years and over.

If you have a disability

Some people with disability are at greater risk of becoming very sick if they catch COVID-19. More information is available about when and how people with disability will get the vaccination.

Where the vaccine will be available

Vaccines are available at a number of locations including:

  • Commonwealth Vaccination Clinics
  • participating general practices
  • Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services
  • state-run vaccination clinics, and
  • pharmacies in some states and territories.

You can check when and where you can receive a vaccine using the eligibility checker.

Number of doses

The COVID-19 vaccines approved in Australia require 2 doses.

The 2 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine need to be given at least 21 days apart.

The AstraZeneca vaccine should be given 12 weeks apart.

What this means for you

The best thing you can do is stay up to date and continue to be COVIDSafe.

To keep you and your community safe, before and after vaccination, it is important that you continue to:

  • 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. You must stay at home until your results come back.
  • 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.

Vaccine approvals

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has strict standards for reviewing possible COVID-19 vaccines. They only approve vaccines that are safe and effective.

The TGA checks every batch of the vaccines for quality and watch out for any unexpected side-effects after the vaccination.

Why COVID-19 vaccines have been developed so quickly

The urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic means that all available resources and efforts have been directed towards finding a safe and effective vaccine.

This has happened so quickly because:

  • funding and collaboration between vaccine developers and governments around the world at levels never seen before
  • advancements in technology that has allowed vaccines to be developed faster than in the past
  • clinical trials progressed more quickly because COVID-19 was widespread, so differences between vaccinated groups and unvaccinated groups could be detected sooner.

Protection through vaccination

Vaccines strengthen your immune system by training it to quickly remember and fight specific germs.

Vaccination involves receiving a vaccine from a needle or drops in the mouth by a trained health professional. A COVID-19 vaccine will be from a needle.

After vaccination, if you do catch the disease, your illness is likely to be less severe.

Vaccines are a safe way to strengthen your immune system without causing illness.

Likely side effects from COVID-19 vaccines

All medicines, including vaccines, have risks and benefits. Usually, any side effects are mild and may only last a few days.

Some of the normal temporary side effects for COVID-19 vaccines include pain at the injection site, fever or muscle aches.

Some people will experience flu-like symptoms from the vaccine that are more significant when compared to other common vaccinations, and may need time away from normal activities. For the Pfizer (COMIRNATY) vaccine, these symptoms are more common after the second dose. For the AstraZeneca vaccine, these symptoms are more common after the first dose.

See your doctor, nurse or go directly to the hospital if:

  • you have a reaction that you consider severe or unexpected
  • you are concerned about your condition after vaccination.

The TGA continues to oversee vaccines for safety while they are being used in Australia. More information about Australia’s system for monitoring the safety of vaccines, and how to report a suspected side effect, is available on the TGA website.

You can choose if you want to get vaccinated

Vaccination in Australia is voluntary, and you can choose if you want to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

If you choose not to have a COVID-19 vaccine, this will not affect your family’s eligibility for Family Tax Benefit Part A or childcare fee assistance.

In the future, vaccination against COVID-19 might become a requirement for travel or for people working in certain high-risk workplaces like aged care. If this becomes the case, there will be exemptions in place for people who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical conditions.

International and domestic travelling when vaccinated

The Australian Government’s advice for travellers has not changed, even if you have been vaccinated.

Passengers travelling to Australia must:

  • get tested for COVID-19 72 hours or less before the scheduled flight departure
  • show their evidence of a negative test result when checking in to their flight.

People arriving in Australia may be quarantined for 14 days and might have to follow other travel restrictions by state and territories.

Before you travel interstate, you should check your local state and territory website for information about travel restrictions:

Where to go for trusted information

Its important people seek information from credible sources about the COVID-19 vaccination program.

For accurate, evidence-based information about COVID-19 vaccines visit the Home Affairs misinformation page.

You can also call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. For translating and interpreting services call 131 450.

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