Key information

Preparing for your COVID-19 vaccination

AstraZeneca

Pfizer

Training resources

Training modules are available for clinical staff including:

A multi-dose vial training module will be made available soon.

Frequently asked questions

Which COVID-19 vaccine will NSW Health be using?

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is responsible for assessing and approving vaccines for use in Australia and the Australian Government is responsible for securing and distributing the approved COVID-19 vaccines. NSW Health uses the approved COVID-19 vaccines provided by the Australian Department of Health.
For more information about Australia's COVID-19 vaccine agreements, visit: Department of Health - Australia's vaccine agreements.

How many shots of COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?

For the COVID-19 vaccines that are available in Australia, each person will need to receive two doses of the vaccine to be adequately immunised against COVID-19.  

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I will receive?

No. The type of COVID-19 vaccine offered will depend on which priority group the person is part of, the person's work or residential location, the quantity of vaccine available, and the authorisation for use for each vaccine that is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), as well as current guidance as to the most appropriate vaccine for a given age group.

If more than one vaccine is suitable for you, you will not be able to choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive. At present, it is recommended that people have two doses of the same COVID-19 vaccine to be adequately immunised.

What is being done to plan for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in NSW?

NSW is working closely with the Australian Government to plan and implement a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination program in NSW. Further information on the vaccine program rollout will be provided as it becomes available. For more information visit Department of Health - Getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

When will I find out when I can get the vaccine?

The NSW Ministry of Health is working with all Local Health Districts and Networks in NSW ensure staff are vaccinated with an appropriate vaccine. People who are healthcare workers can also receive their vaccine through any accredited immunisation provider.

Do I need to wear a mask when I receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

In the initial phases of the vaccination rollout, people will need to visit designated vaccination hubs to receive the vaccination. As these hubs will be located at public hospitals, you will need to follow the PPE requirements at the time. This will be communicated to you before you are scheduled to go for vaccination. NSW Health strongly encourages you to wear a face mask during your time at the COVID-19 Vaccination Hub, including while queuing.

Will vaccinations be mandatory for people working in NSW Health facilities or certain areas of health facilities?

While COVID-19 vaccination is strongly encouraged, NSW Health is not, at this time, requiring staff to be vaccinated. Guidelines for the appropriate use of COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) and associated work practices should continue to be followed to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in health care settings. COVID-19 vaccination will offer an additional layer of protection from developing a symptomatic infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and therefore NSW Health staff are strongly encouraged to have the vaccination when it is offered to them unless there is a medical contraindication.

What will happen for staff who cannot, or choose not to be vaccinated?

Staff should continue with the current COVID precautions and infection prevention and control, including seeking testing should relevant symptoms emerge. This approach may be re-considered if the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 changes, or more evidence regarding vaccine efficacy in reducing transmission emerges, especially for high-risk settings.

What should I do if I have concerns about the vaccine before I get vaccinated?

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccination, you should review the information on the Australian Government website. If you still have concerns and you have been offered an appointment for COVID-19 vaccination, you should contact your GP or the vaccination provider prior to or at your appointment.

How will NSW Health monitor any side effects of vaccination?

Health professionals will be asked to report any adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination through the existing adverse events notification channels. More information is available at How do I report an AEFI?

NSW Health plans to monitor the safety and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination program using existing surveillance systems, along with:

  • Specialist clinical advice regarding investigation and management of suspected adverse events through the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS);
  • Convening a NSW Health COVID-19 Safety Expert Panel of immunisation and other clinical specialists, to review serious or unexpected adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs);
  • Establishing an inquiry under the Public Health Act 2010;
  • Assisting with causality assessments through the national Vaccine Safety Investigation Group (VSIG); and
  • Benchmarking and information sharing with international partners.

Where will vaccines be stored and administered?

Vaccines are available from NSW Health clinics and through GP services.

Where will my vaccination be registered?

All vaccinations, including the date of vaccination, will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register. Vaccination records will be available through MyGov and My Health Record, and the Australian Government is working to enhance existing digital and non-digital options. Additionally, the NSW Health systems will allow NSW Health to identify staff who are due their second dose of the vaccine.

Will I need to carry proof of vaccination with me?

All vaccinations will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register. Vaccination records will be available through MyGov and My Health Record. 

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available?

Due to the risk of re-infection with COVID-19, it is recommended that individuals should be vaccinated regardless of whether they have already had COVID-19 in order to reduce the risk to yourself and the community. Current advice is that people who have previously had COVID-19 or been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus without symptoms can receive the vaccine as long as the person is not acutely ill and does not have any specific medical reason why they should not get the COVID-19 vaccine. The duration of natural immunity following infection with the COVID-19 virus is not yet known.

Will vaccination for health staff be staggered?

Yes, vaccination for health staff will be staggered in order to avoid disruption to the functioning of health facilities.

Can I get the regular flu vaccine around the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine?

Advice from ATAGI is that the preferred minimum interval between administration of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines and any influenza vaccine is 14 days. This is precautionary advice. It is not recommended to provide an influenza vaccine on the same day as a COVID-19 vaccine.

Why is a vaccine needed if we can do other things, like physical distancing and wearing masks, to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading?

Currently there is no treatment available against COVID-19. Public health measures have focused on containing the spread of the disease through physical distancing measures, early case detection, isolation of cases and contacts and increasing health system capacity. Immunisation is likely to be an additional measure to help in preventing the disease and protecting the community against COVID-19.

Will I still need to wear PPE at work and follow the COVID safe rules in my daily life?

Australia will still need to continue with the measures already in place to control COVID-19. If the vaccine program is effective in decreasing community transmission and starting to reach a high proportion of people, it is hoped that we will be able to reduce some of these control measures. This is likely to be a slow process and will rely on many people being willing to have the vaccine. As the COVID-19 vaccine starts to be administered in NSW, it is essential that all healthcare workers maintain vigilance for COVID-19 and ensure they continue to follow infection prevention and control measures at work and COVID safe behaviours in their daily lives. It is essential to keep these practices in place to prevent spread of the virus until everyone can be adequately protected against COVID-19.

You will still need to be tested if you become sick with symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19.

Does the natural immunity after getting COVID-19 last longer than protection from COVID-19 vaccines?

The protection someone gains from having an infection (called 'natural immunity') varies depending on the disease, and it varies from person to person. Because this virus is new, we don't know how long natural immunity might last. Current evidence suggests that getting the virus again (reinfection) is uncommon in the 90 days after the first infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. We won't know how long immunity lasts after vaccination until we have more data on how well COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity. There are early indications that the vaccine can boost natural immunity.

What about if I am pregnant or planning to get pregnant – what are the implications for getting vaccinated?

Clinical trials for new medicines do not typically include pregnant or breastfeeding participants. Each country that is or has hosted clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates has different guidance regarding use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy based on the benefits, risks and uncertainties in the context of the prevailing pandemic situation. The Australian Department of Health has provided a COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning pregnancy. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning pregnancy, please discuss your individual circumstances with your doctor.

Will students on placement in hospitals be eligible for the vaccine?

Students will be prioritised for vaccination according to whether they meet the criteria for vaccination in Phase 1a or 1b. The vaccine will then be offered to them in that Phase based on the stage of the rollout across the state and depending on their placement location.


Current as at: Tuesday 20 April 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW