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COVID-19 - vaccination

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 infection can be a very serious illness, especially for our Elders and those in our community who have chronic 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 infection.

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.

Get vaccinated so you, your family and your community can stay well and keep doing the things you enjoy like music, football, cultural activities, being with family.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine weaken my body’s defence to fight the virus?

No, the vaccine will not weaken our bodies defence to fight the COVID-19 virus. The vaccines train our bodies to recognise and get rid of the virus.

It's normal to experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine

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)
  • There is a rare risk of myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation) following the vaccines 

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

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

Vaccine doses

Recommendations on vaccination are updated as more research is done in Australia and in many other countries. The number of doses recommended depend on the person’s age and health condition.

The 29 February 2024 recommendations for the COVID-19 vaccine primary course (starting dose):

  • A single dose for people 18 years and older.
  • Children (less than 18 years) without any risk factors are not routinely recommended the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Children (6 months to 17 years) with medical conditions that put them at risk of severe COVID-19 are eligible to have the primary course.
  • People with severe immunocompromise (weakened immune system) need two or three doses of the vaccine as part of the primary course.

Talk to your GP about your health circumstances (or your child’s) to find out what is right for you.   

Booster/extra dose(s) advice

Booster or extra dose(s) of the vaccine work to ‘remind’ the body to recognise the COVID-19 virus. Viruses like COVID-19 and the flu change over time, so the vaccines are made to give us the best protection from new types of the virus. Having the booster stops us from getting really sick if we catch the virus. People with health conditions that weaken their immune system are advised to have boosters more frequently than those who do not.

The 29 February 2024 booster dose advice are:

  • People aged 75 years and older: all are recommended a dose every 6 months
  • People aged 65 to 74 years: all are recommended a dose every 12 months. They may consider a dose every 6 months if advised by their GP.
  • People age 18 to 64 years: consider a dose every 12 months. If they have severe immunocompromise they are recommended a dose every 12 months, and may consider a dose every 6 months if advised by their GP.
  • Children aged 5 to 17 years with severe immunocompromise: consider a dose every 12 months. Those without severe immunocompromise are not recommended to have a booster.
  • Children less than 5 years are not recommended to have a booster.

Talk to your GP to know what is right for you (or your children) based on your health circumstances.


I still got COVID-19 even though I got the vaccine, so why should I have more vaccines?

The COVID-19 vaccines will not always stop us from getting the virus but it can stop us from getting very sick, going to hospital or dying from COVID-19.

Some useful links relating to the COVID-19 vaccines

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?

COVID-19 vaccine advice and recommendations for 2024