Vaccine information

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Vaccination is an important defence against COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia, even if you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This includes people without a Medicare card, overseas visitors, international students, migrant workers and asylum seekers.

Am I eligible?

Everyone in Australia aged 5 years and over is eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccination.

Vaccines are available at a number of locations including:

  • State run vaccination clinics
  • Commonwealth run vaccination clinics
  • Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services
  • participating general practices
  • participating pharmacies.

To book a first, second or third (booster) dose at a state run vaccination centre in Victoria, use the online booking system or call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

To find a Commonwealth run vaccination clinic, Aboriginal health service, participating GP or pharmacy, see the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder.

Advice for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend the Pfizer vaccine (Cominarty) and Moderna vaccine (Spikevax) as safe and effective at any stage of pregnancy, or if breastfeeding or if planning to get pregnant. This includes first, second and third (booster) doses.

If Pfizer or Moderna is not accessible, the AstraZeneca vaccine can be considered in discussion with a healthcare provider about the benefits and potential rare risks.

This advice, and the evidence behind it is, is outlined in the Australian Government’s Shared decision making guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination and are eligible for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.

This is because pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and their babies have a higher risk of being born prematurely. Vaccination is the best way to reduce these risks.

Research has shown that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe for pregnant women (this research has not yet been carried out for the AstraZeneca vaccine).

Research also shows that the antibodies produced by vaccination cross the placenta and may provide some protection to newborn babies.

Women who are 24 weeks or more into their pregnancy, and those with complicated or high-risk pregnancies as determined by their health care provider, have priority access to Pfizer vaccination appointments at state run centres. Bookings can be made online or by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 (8am-8pm, 7 days).

Video produced by Women's Health Victoria

Breastfeeding women

There is limited research on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding women, however, no safety concerns have emerged from the studies performed to date.

The Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are recommended for breastfeeding women. Women do not need to stop breastfeeding before or after vaccination.

The vaccines do not contain any live virus and are rapidly broken down in the body. It is not believed to pass into breastmilk and even if it did it would be quickly destroyed in the baby’s gut.

If antibodies induced by COVID-19 vaccine pass into breastmilk, this may provide the baby with some protection against COVID-19, however there have not yet been any studies to confirm such protection.

Video produced by Women's Health Victoria

Planning pregnancy

The Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are recommended for women who are planning pregnancy. Women do not need to avoid becoming pregnant before or after vaccination.

Getting vaccinated before conceiving means women are likely to have protection against COVID-19 throughout their pregnancy. Vaccination does not affect fertility. Women are not required to have a pregnancy test before getting vaccinated.

Video produced by Women's Health Victoria

COVID vaccine Q&A

Obstetrician and maternal fetal medicine specialist Dr Stefan Kane and Midwife and Lactation Consultant Anita Moorhead answer common questions about the COVID vaccine during pregnancy and breastfeeding in this Q&A.

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