Pharmacy Services

Covid-19 Vaccine

There is no denying the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world.

The good news is certain COVID-19 vaccinations have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia. This means that we can begin to reduce the risk of spread in our community by vaccinating against it.

High vaccination rates make outbreaks much less likely. It also reduces the need for preventative measures, such as border closures and travel restrictions. This will help reduce the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first phase (1a and 1b) of vaccinations will be done through hospital sites and will go to identified priority groups (see below).

Pharmacies will be vaccinating from Phase 2a, believed to commence May 2021. Wizard Pharmacy is proud to support the Australian Government and its vaccination effort through multiple safe and conveniently located Wizard sites.

The full details of the National Roll-Out Strategy can be found here.

With Cold & Flu season nearly upon us, it is also time to start thinking about your annual flu vaccination. It is recommended you wait at least two weeks between your flu vaccination and your COVID Vaccination. If you are included in Phases 2 or 3 of the COVID Vaccination roll-out, it is recommended you get your flu vaccination first while waiting for your COVID vaccination. If you’re included in the earlier Phases (1a and 1b), it is recommended you get your COVID vaccination first.

Click HERE to register your interest in receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine at Wizard Pharmacy.

Click HERE for more information on Coronavirus.

Click HERE to find out when you'll be eligible to receive your COVID-19 Vaccine. 

Click HERE to book in for your annual Flu Vaccination.

 

FAQs- COVID-19 Vaccine

What is a COVID-19 Vaccine?

A vaccine is a type of medicine that helps your body’s immune system to fight diseases. Vaccines are created in a way that prevents or reduces the severity of the disease. Vaccines are not used to treat the disease once you have caught it.

Just as we have vaccines to help protect us against diseases like measles, whooping cough, chickenpox or the flu, there is a vaccine that will help protect you against COVID-19. There are different types of COVID-19 vaccines, but they all aim to protect you against COVID-19.

How does the vaccine work?

Some infectious diseases are unknown to your body, and your body doesn’t know how to protect you from them. A vaccination is an effective and safe way to teach your body’s immune system how to fight off certain diseases. After having a vaccine, your body creates antibodies to protect you from that disease.

If you have the COVID-19 vaccine and are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 in the future, your immune system will respond faster and more effectively against the virus and protect you against the severity of the disease.

Is the COVID-19 vaccination compulsory?

While the Australian Government supports and promotes immunisation, it is not mandatory, and individuals can choose whether to get vaccinated.

Will the vaccine be free?

The Australian government has committed to providing the COVID-19 vaccine for free to all Australian citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers and temporary or bridging visa-holders.

How were these vaccines developed so quickly?

In response to the impacts of COVID-19 felt worldwide, unprecedented funding and collaboration occurred between regulators, governments, vaccine developers and scientists.

For COVID-19 vaccines, no testing phase has been skipped. Instead, some of these phases have been combined, or run at the same time as each other. Having these ‘overlapping’ time frames has helped develop COVID-19 vaccines quickly and help make them available earlier to save lives.

 

FAQs- COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

Is the COVID-19 vaccination safe?

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) carefully look at clinical trial results, along with data on the quality and manufacturing of the vaccines. They only approve vaccines when they have enough evidence that they work, and they are safe.

Are there any known side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

All vaccines can cause side effects. Usually, these are mild. You may experience minor side effects following vaccination. Most side effects last no more than a couple of days, and you will recover without any problems. Common reactions to vaccination include:

  • Pain, redness and/or swelling where you received the needle
  • Mild fever

Serious reactions like allergic reactions are extremely rare. If you have any concerns about the vaccine, talk to your pharmacist.

 

FAQs- COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness

How effective is the vaccine?

The results from the clinical trials to date have shown all vaccines to be effective in providing protection against COVID-19.

If as many people as possible are immunised against COVID-19, regardless of which vaccine they have, this will make a significant difference in keeping everyone safe and reducing potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

Is one type of COVID-19 vaccine more effective than another?

Providing access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for everyone in Australia is a priority for the Australian Government. The TGA assesses all COVID-19 vaccines before they can be used in Australia.

The TGA will only register a vaccine if its benefits are much greater than its risks. This means every vaccine available in Australia has been proven to protect against COVID-19.

Clinical trials for the vaccines have shown that both vaccines are effective in preventing:

  • Development of COVID-19 symptoms and
  • Protecting against severe disease.

These trials involve tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Do the vaccines protect against the UK variant of COVID-19?

Yes. So far, clinical trials are showing that the vaccine induces antibodies that can respond to a variety of mutations. Health authorities will continue to monitor the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against variant strains.

 

FAQs- COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out

Who will get the vaccine first?

The Australian Government is responsible for specifying priority populations, drawing on advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

Identified priority groups will be offered the first doses, such as people most at risk of becoming very ill with COVID-19 and those at greater risk of infecting others through their work.

More people will have access to the vaccine as more doses become available.

 
Phase 1

Quarantine, border and front line health care workers will need to provide proof of occupation to demonstrate their eligibility

Quarantine and border workers, including:

  • staff at entry points to the country (such as sea ports and land borders)
  • staff working in quarantine facilities, including those employed under Commonwealth, state or private agreements, and  
  • Commonwealth employees (including Defence personnel) who are identified as having the potential to encounter returning travellers as part of their work.
 

Frontline health care worker sub-groups for prioritisation

  • frontline staff in facilities or services such as hospital emergency departments,COVID-19 and respiratory wards, Intensive Care Units and High-dependency Units
  • laboratory staff handling potentially infectious material
  • ambulance and paramedics service
  • GP respiratory clinics, and  
  • COVID-19 testing facilities.

*All other healthcare workers are included in Phase 1b, including medical and tertiary students with placements in these healthcare settings.

 

Aged care and disability care staff

 

Aged care and disability care residents

 
Number of doses up to 1.4m
Phase 1b 

Elderly adults aged 80 years and over

 

Elderly adults aged 70-79 years

 

Other health care workers

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people > 55

 

Adults with an underlying medical condition, including those with a disability
 

*People will need to provide proof of these conditions to demonstrate their eligibility for vaccination via My health record, a health professional referral if required or a declaration form.

 

Critical and high risk workers including defence, police, fire, emergency services and meat processing
 

* Workers will need to provide proof of occupation to demonstrate their eligibility.

 
Number of doses up to 14.8m
Phase 2a 

Adults aged 60-69 years

 

Adults aged 50-59 years

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18-54

 

Other critical and high risk workers

 
Number of doses up to 15.8m
Phase 2b 

Balance of adult population

 

Catch up any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases

 
Number of doses up to 16m
Phase 3
< 16 if recommended  
Number of doses up to 13.6m

Source; https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/getting-vaccinated-for-covid-19/when-will-i-get-a-covid-19-vaccine

When will the vaccines be made available?

The WA COVID-19 vaccination program is planned to roll-out in phases from late February throughout 2021, provided vaccines are available, and proven safe and effective by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

The vaccine program is being implemented in a phased approach because there is currently a limited supply of the first vaccine approved by the TGA.

More people will have access to a vaccine as more doses become available. We will keep you informed as new information from the Australian Government continues coming to light.

When will I be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccination?

The Australian government and state and territory governments are working together to plan the safe and efficient roll-out of an approved vaccine. In line with approval from the TGA, vaccinations will be available in phases, with certain groups given priority (see above).

Vaccinations are expected to be available at pharmacies, GPs or specialist vaccination clinics from early May 2021, as part of the Phase 2A roll-out plan.

Who should have the vaccine?

All adults over 16 years are recommended to have the vaccine once they are eligible. The vaccine program is being implemented in a phased approach with those most at risk of becoming very ill with COVID-19 and those at greater risk of becoming infected through their work and infecting others being offered the vaccine as a priority.

Do children have to get the vaccine?

It has not been recommended at this stage that children under 16 years will receive the vaccine. If this advice changes, they will be included in later phases of the vaccine roll-out.

Do I still need to follow COVID safe practices while the vaccine is rolled out?

Yes. Everyone needs to continue to practise good hygiene, social distancing and staying home if you are sick during the vaccine roll-out. A COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect the Australian community.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19 until I am able to get a vaccine?

In the meantime, everyone still needs to:

 

FAQs- COVID & Flu

Will a flu vaccination protect me from COVID-19?

No. Influenza and COVID-19 are two completely separate viruses. As such, different vaccinations are required to help protect you and those around you from each of them.

Although we saw a reduction in flu infection rates in 2020 - likely to due to the higher than usual vaccination rate, along with the impacts of social distancing and increased hygiene – the flu virus remains in the community and is continually evolving, so you are still exposed to it.

It’s important to note that the flu (Influenza) is still a serious illness that contributes to absence from employment, lost productivity, hospitalisations, and in very severe cases, death. An Influenza vaccination remains one of the best annual preventative measures to help protect you and those around you against the flu. It is highly advisable that you consider a flu vaccination in 2021, along with the COVID-19 vaccination.

I had my 2020 Flu Vaccination late last year, do I need a 2021 Flu Vaccination?

You should get the Influenza vaccine every year. This is because the most common strains of the virus that cause Influenza change every year. The vaccine also changes every year to match these strains.

Can I get my COVID-19 vaccination at the same time as my annual flu vaccination?

It is currently not recommended to get both vaccines at the same time. A minimum of 14 days should occur between the different vaccinations. Currently, the order of the immunisations also does not matter. As more information becomes available, this recommendation may change.

In which order should I get my COVID-19 and flu immunisations?

There is no particular order in which it is currently recommended to get your flu immunisation and your first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. You will, however, need to wait at least two weeks between each vaccine. This recommendation may change as more evidence comes to hand.

If you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the earlier stages of the roll-out, it is recommended you receive this first as it will be available before you are recommended to get a flu vaccination.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine protect against the flu?

No, it does not. However, having your flu vaccination reduces the chance you will catch the flu and compromise your immune system.

 

Sources

https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines

https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus/COVID19-vaccine/FAQs

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/protect-yourself-others/covid-19-vaccine

https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/getting-vaccinated-for-covid-19/why-should-i-get-vaccinated-for-covid-19

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/01/atagi-advice-on-influenza-and-covid-19-vaccines.pdf

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-services/flu-influenza-immunisation-service-0

Scroll to top