COVID vaccine 5-minute guide: How it affects you
The long awaited rollout of the COVID vaccination program has begun.
The Pfizer vaccine is first out of the gate, and others will soon follow.
This is how the rollout will unfold and your questions answered below:
HOW THE PROGRAM WILL UNFOLD
It's clearly impossible for everyone to get the vaccine at the same time. So it's being rolled out in five phases. Phase 1a takes in the people who need protection the most - our frontline heroes who are protecting all of us, aged-care and disability-care workers and residents, and quarantine and border worker. Following this group will be those in phase 1b, which includes people over 70, and then the second phase will commence. Health Minister Greg Hunt explains.
WHEN YOU CAN GET THE JAB
Australians aged over 16 will be eligible to receive free COVID-19 vaccinations from February 22 but the timing of the jab will depend on your age, health status and occupation.
Immunisation will be voluntary. No one will be forced to have a shot but the protection offered by the jabs will prevent you from getting a severe case of the disease and may eventually allow vaccinated people to travel and work more easily.
WHERE YOU CAN GET THE JAB
Most people will get their vaccination from their general practitioner and, later, from pharmacists who have sought registration with the federal government to roll out the vaccine. But for now, in phase 1, the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out to a number of hospitals across urban and rural Australia. It's free for everyone living in Australia and does not require a prescription from a GP. See full list of COVID vax hospital hubs and aged care facilities.
WHAT TYPES OF COVID JABS YOU CAN GET
Australia has purchased three types of COVID-19 vaccinations - an mRNA vaccine made by Pfizer/BioNTech, a vaccine made from a weakened chimpanzee common cold virus made by AstraZeneca and a vaccine that mimics part of the COVID-19 virus, made by Novavax. The Pfizer vaccine is being rolled out first at the rate of 80,000 doses per week. The AstraZeneca vaccine which will become available from early March, a small number of doses will be imported from overseas but the bulk will be produced in CSL's Melbourne laboratories at the rate of one million doses per week. There is not a lot of data showing how well the AstraZeneca vaccine works in the elderly but the TGA said the decision on whether to give it to Australians aged over 65 "should be decided on a case-by-case basis with consideration of age and comorbidities".
Later this year a third vaccine produced by Novavax is expected to become available.
What's in the vaccine?
L-histidine, L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, magnesium chloride hexahydrate, polysorbate 80, ethanol, sucrose, sodium chloride, disodium edentate dehydrate, water.
How many doses will you need? Two, administered 4-12 weeks apart.
How many doses will Australia receive? The federal government has purchased 53.8 million doses.
Where will the vaccine be made?
50 million of the doses will be made in Melbourne, with 3.8 million produced in Europe.
When will the vaccine be available in Australia? It has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for people aged over 18 and the first doses are expected to be available in March.
How effective is the vaccine? 62 per cent effective preventing laboratory confirmed COVID-19 when dosed 28 days apart, 82 per cent effective when doses spaced 12 weeks apart, 76 per cent effective at preventing COVID after a single shot, reduced transmission of the virus by 67 per cent in the UK. No one who received the vaccine has been hospitalised or become seriously ill with COVID.
Have there been any side effects? Injection site tenderness, fatigue, chills, fever, headache, nausea, joint pain or muscle ache, flu-like symptoms, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills, enlarged lymph nodes, excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash.
PFIZER BIONTECH VACCINE
What's in the vaccine?
mRNA, lipids ((4 hydroxybutyl) azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N, N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.
How many doses will you need? Two doses at least 21 days apart.
Where will the vaccine be made? Belgium and Kalamazoo, Michigan.
How many doses will Australia receive? Australia has purchased 20 million doses, all produced overseas.
When will the vaccine be available in Australia? The first 142,000 doses have arrived in Australia and the first jab will be delivered Monday February 22. It has been approved in Australia for ages 16 and older. Two doses at least 21 days apart
How effective is the vaccine? 95 per cent effective against symptomatic COVID-19, 52 per cent effective at preventing illness after the first shot.
Have there been any side effects? Injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain and chills, joint pain, 11.1 people in every one million suffer anaphylactic reaction.
What's in the vaccine? A modified the gene from the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is placed into an insect virus which is then used to infect moth cells to produce spike proteins. These spike proteins are harvested from the moth cells and assembled into nanoparticles that mimic the structure of the coronavirus but can't replicate or cause COVID-19. They are mixed with a compound extracted from the soapbark tree which attracts immune cells to the site of the injection and causes them to respond more strongly to the nanoparticles.
How many doses will you need? Two, 21 days apart.
How effective is the vaccine? 89.3 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19, 60 per cent effective against South African variant of COVID-19.
Where will the vaccine be made? Europe
How many doses will Australia receive? 51 million doses purchased.
When will the vaccine be available in Australia? Not yet approved.
Have there been any side effects? Pain and tenderness at the injection site, headaches, muscle pain, and fatigue.
Originally published as COVID vaccine 5-minute guide: How it affects you