Somerton Road Medical Centre – COVID-19 vaccination fact sheet
Is the vaccine compulsory?
No, it is not. The vaccine will be free and voluntary for all Australians. You can get your free vaccine at Somerton Road Medical Centre. If you do not have a Medicare card, you will need to attend a GP Respiratory Clinic or one of the government vaccine hubs.
Should I have the vaccine?
It is important that you know whether you want to have the vaccine before you book in to our vaccination clinic. If you have concerns about the vaccine, please speak to your GP so you are able to make an informed decision.
PLEASE NOTE – Our vaccination clinics are planned to maximise patient throughput, so the appointment at the clinic is to get the vaccine only.
When will I get my vaccine?
There is a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia and globally. This means, people who have the highest risk of severe COVID-19 and/or exposure to the virus will receive the vaccine first. Other people will receive the vaccine over time according to the government prescribed phased rollout. We are currently in Phase 1b:
- Phase 1a: Quarantine and border workers, frontline health care worker sub-groups for prioritization, aged care and disability care staff, and aged care and disability care residents
- Phase 1b: adults over 70, all other health workers not in Phase 1a, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55, adults with a chronic/serious health condition, critical and high risk workers
- Phase 2a: adults over 50 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18-55, other high risk critical workers
- Phase 2b: balance of adult population and catch up of any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases
- Phase 3: people under 18, if recommended
**PLEASE NOTE, PROOF OF YOUR ELIGIBILITY WILL BE REQUIRED – including proof of your employment, if you are getting a COVID-19 vaccine because of your occupation. If you are a new patient, a health summary with details of your relevant medical condition(s) will also be required.
How many doses do I need?
You will need 2 doses – 12 weeks apart. A delay can affect the vaccines efficacy and make it less protective. You should get the second dose even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless your doctor tells you not to get the second injection. Once you have received your first dose, we recommend you pre-book your second dose at this 12-week interval so that we can manage appropriate stock levels for your second dose.
If you miss your second dose, this means you are not protected against the effects of COVID-19 if you become exposed.
How will my vaccine be recorded?
Both doses of your COVID-19 vaccine will be recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register. Patients can access their personal immunisation record via:
- your MyGov account
- your Medicare account
- your My Health Record
If you do not have access to these online accounts, Reception can print a copy of your immunisation history.
Will life go back to normal after I have been vaccinated?
Some people may still get a COVID-19 infection after vaccination. So social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks in close spaces will likely remain in place for a while longer. You should stay at home if you are unwell with respiratory symptoms and get a COVID-19 test.
Can I wait for another type of vaccine?
The Australian government currently recommends that all patients get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them.
Is the vaccine safe?
Australia’s drugs and vaccination safety watchdog, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia, has some of the highest standards in the world for screening new treatments. This means that the TGA does not just accept the information from other nations unless they uphold similarly high standards. Even then, Somerton Road Medical Centre has also undertaken its own screening process as well, which has added to the delay in being approved for use here.
What are the vaccine side effects?
You will need to remain in the practice for 15 minutes (30 minutes if you are considered a high-risk patient) of observation to check you do not have a reaction to the vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine will not give you a COVID-19 infection. So far, the side effects from the vaccine can include:
- Tender area at the injection site including redness
- Feeling tired
- Muscle aches
Side effects should subside over a few days and should be quite mild. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with side effects like pain, headache or fever.
You should seek urgent medical assistance (e.g. by calling 000) if you think you are having a severe allergic reaction, such as if you are experiencing difficulty breathing, hives, lip swelling or feeling faint.
If you have any side effects you are concerned about, please call the Practice for advice.
You can report potential side effects after vaccination to NPS MedicineWise on 1300 134 237 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm), or directly to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Somerton Road Medical Centre can make the report for you if you wish. This will help the TGA collect information about adverse effects that occur after COVID-19 vaccination and detect any possible unexpected safety signals.
You can check your symptoms using the following link:
What should I do if I have allergies?
If you have an immune condition or a history of a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines, it’s important to discuss these issues first with your GP.
Should I have the vaccine if I am pregnant, breast feeding or considering becoming pregnant?
The COVID-19 vaccine has not been tested on pregnant women in clinical trials, so there is insufficient information about their effects on pregnant women and/or their unborn babies. Administration should be considered only if the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high and/or cannot be avoided, or in case of underlying conditions that may result in serious complications of COVID-19.
What about the Influenza vaccine?
You can still have the flu vaccine but it is advised that you space the flu vaccine at least two weeks apart from the COVID-19 vaccine (either before or after) to ensure a maximal immune response to both vaccines. At present, we have not been given any timescales for when the flu vaccinations will begin.
It is advisable to take whichever vaccine is available/offered first.
Can children have the COVID-19 vaccine?
Children and adolescents are not recommended to have the COVID-19 vaccine.
This is because we don’t have any clinical trial results yet to confirm that the vaccines are effective and safe in these age groups. Clinical trials in children are planned or underway, and in the future children may be able to receive both of these vaccines.