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COVID-19 Vaccine

As the peak body for Aboriginal Health in South Australia, the Aboriginal Health Council SA endorses the Australian public health position on COVID-19 vaccination. The TGA approved vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in reducing the risk of serious illness, including hospitalisation and death due to COVID-19. There is also emerging evidence that the vaccines reduce transmission of the disease.  We support and encourage Aboriginal communities to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Why should I have a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 can be a very serious illness, especially for our elders and those in our community who have existing medical conditions. Getting a vaccine is one of the best ways of protecting ourselves and others in the community from getting really sick, being hospitalised or dying from COVID-19.

As time goes on, there has been more evidence to suggest that vaccines will help to reduce the spread of the virus.

Encouraging your family, Elders and the community to get vaccinated so that everyone is protected from serious illness is the best defence you have against the COVID-19 virus.

It’s normal to experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccination:

All vaccines can have some side effects, but usually they don’t last long (maybe a couple of days) and they are mild. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Feeling a bit unwell, like after having a flu shot
  • Sore arm
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever

Rare side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are exactly that, very rare, and uncommon; however, it’s important to know what they are so you can be prepared for all circumstances:

  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • A very rare blood clotting condition after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)

How do I know what vaccine is right for us to get?

There are currently three vaccines available in Australia and they are the Vaxzevria (formally known as AstraZeneca), Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Novavax has now been approved in Australia and will be available for people 18 years and older and will be avilable in South Australia at some sites from February 23rd onward. 

The best thing to do is talk to your GP about your personal circumstances to find out which vaccine is right for you.

All of the available vaccines require two doses and it is not yet known how long this protection will last, but doctors, professors and scientists will know more through the ongoing research that is being conducted. Booster doses have now been introduced in Australia.

At present it’s not mandatory to have the vaccine in Australia, but we are all encouraged to have the vaccine recommended for us as soon as possible.

The vaccines are recommended for children 5 and above and adults and are also safe for women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

Booster doses 

Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine provide very good protection against the COVID-19 virus, especially against severe disease or dying. A booster dose will make sure that the protection from the first two doses is even stronger and longer lasting, and should help prevent the virus from further spreading.

Booster doses can now be given to people 16 years and older.

A booster dose increases your protection against:

- infection of the virus that casues COVID-19

- severe disease 

- dying from COVID-19

A booster dose will continue to protect you, your loved ones and your community against COVID-19 and booster doses will be free for everyone. More information about the COVID-19 booster vaccination program can be found at the Australian Government Department of Health website. 

Information about the additional Winter dose can be found below.

We can still get the COVID-19 virus once we’ve had the vaccination, but it is still very important that we do have it to protect ourselves and our community

The COVID-19 vaccines will not be able to fully protect us against COVID-19, just like the flu jab will not be able to fully protect us against the flu.

Even after you are fully vaccinated, you may still get the COVID-19 infection, but it is very reassuring to know that the vaccines are very effective at helping prevent us from getting very sick, going to hospital or dying from COVID-19.

Some useful links relating to the COVID-19 vaccinations:

The Australian Government Department of Health | Eligibility Checker (you can book in for your COVID-19 vaccine here)

The Australian Government Department of Health | Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

The Australian Government Department of Health | COVID-19 Vaccination common questions – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

SA Health | COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Hotline 1800 253 787