There are some special words people use about COVID-19.

These words can be hard to understand.

We want to explain what these words mean.

On this page

Adverse event following immunisation

This is if you get a bad reaction to a medication or vaccine.

It is not meant to happen.

Anaphylaxis is a bad allergic reaction.

An allergic reaction means your body reacts in a bad way.

This could be

  • you cannot breathe
  • you pass out
  • your blood pressure goes down

You need to get medical help straight away.

Asymptomatic is when you have an illness but it does not make you sick.

It means you have no symptoms.

Symptoms are things like a fever.

You can have COVID-19 but feel OK because you are asymptomatic.

Australian Immunisation Register is a list of who has had vaccinations.

When you get the COVID-19 vaccination it goes on the Australian Immunisation Register.

Booster injection is when you get some more of a vaccine to make it last longer.

Some vaccines need a booster injection so it keeps working.

Clinical trial is a test of a new medicine or vaccine.

Clinical trials help make sure medicines and vaccines are safe to take.

Consent means that you say yes to something.

It also means you say you understand the information.

Contraindication means a reason why someone should not take a medicine or vaccine.

This could be because it is dangerous for them.

Dose means how much of a medicine or vaccine someone is given.

Effectiveness is how well a vaccine will work.

Exemption or exempt means that you do not have to do something.

You might not be able to get the vaccination because you are allergic to something that is in it.

Your doctor can write you a letter of exemption.

The letter will say that you cannot have the vaccination and why.

Fully vaccinated means that you had all doses of a vaccination that you should have.

Herd immunity is when enough people had a vaccine to keep everyone safe.

When there is herd immunity with COVID-19 it means it is less likely to spread in the community.

Immune response is how your body reacts to a sickness or a vaccine.

Immune system is how your body helps you fight sickness and stay healthy.

Immunity means you are protected from a sickness.

You might still get sick but you will not get very sick.

You get immunity when you have been around a sickness or if you have had a vaccine.

Immunisation is the same as vaccination.

Immunocompromised means that your immune system is weak.

This could be because you are sick or have a health condition.

Pandemic is when people all over the world get the same sickness like COVID-19.

Roll out is the plan to get everyone vaccinated.

The plan says when different people can get the vaccine.

Observation means that you need to stay at the place where you got your vaccination.

This might only be for 10 or 15 minutes.

It is to make sure you are feel ok after the vaccination. Some places have an area for people to sit down after they got their vaccination.

Side effect is when the vaccine does something to your body.

A side effect can make you feel sick.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration makes sure that all vaccines and medicines in Australia are safe to use.

TGA for short.

Transmission is when a sickness goes from one person to another.

We want to stop the transmission of COVID-19.

Vaccination is when you get a vaccine.

For COVID-19 the vaccination is a needle.

Vaccination stops you from getting sick.

Vaccine is a medicine to stop you getting sick.

A vaccine helps your body fight a sickness.

Other words you might here for vaccine are

  • Jab
  • Needle
  • Shot

Vaccine hesitancy is when people are not sure if they want to get a vaccine.

The person might wait to get the vaccine or say no to getting a vaccine.

COVID-19 Variant means that the virus changes over time.

It can get worse.

Delta is a type of variant.

Council for Intellectual Disability made this document Easy Read. CID for short. You need to ask CID if you want to use any pictures in this document.

You can contact CID at

Current as at: Monday 21 February 2022
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW