About vaccines for COVID-19
The Australian Government requires robust scientific data and analysis before supporting a vaccine candidate. This is a critical part of the scientific process. We continue to follow our rigorous regulatory procedures to ensure that all vaccines supplied in Australia are effective and safe for use.
Advising the Government on COVID-19 vaccines are:
- The COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatments for Australia – Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group
- The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI)
Finding information about COVID-19 vaccines
Australians are encouraged to rely on reputable sources of information to help them make informed choices and stay up to date.
Information will be communicated through Government channels, as well as States and Territories and the health sector.
Reputable information about vaccines is available from:
- Therapeutic Goods Administration
- Australian Academy of Science
- World Health Organisation
- National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance
How will a vaccine prevent COVID-19?
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has spikes of protein on each viral particle. These spike proteins allow the virus to attach to cells and cause disease.
The vaccines in development help the body to “recognise” these spike proteins as foreign and fight the coronavirus that has them. The vaccine will protect a person who receives it by lowering their chances of getting COVID-19 if they encounter the coronavirus.
If you have already had COVID-19 and recovered, you may have some natural immunity to contracting the disease again. However because this virus is new, it’s not clear how long natural immunity might last.
Even if you have had COVID-19, you should still have the vaccine to help protect against getting COVID-19 again or passing it onto someone else.
Are COVID-19 vaccines effective?
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will only approve a vaccine if it is effective. This means that any vaccine available in Australia has been proven to be effective in protecting against COVID-19.
On 25 January 2021, the Australian Government announced the provisional approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia. This registration means Pfizer’s vaccine has met the TGA’s rigorous standards for effectiveness, safety and quality.
Clinical trials of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine have demonstrated the vaccine is effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and that it protects against severe disease and hospitalisation.
How long does a COVID-19 vaccine last?
It is not yet known how long the protection afforded by a COVID-19 vaccine will last. This is being evaluated in ongoing research.
Will I need boosters?
Most COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. This includes the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine and the Novavax vaccine. Whether you will need additional booster doses, such as an annual booster, for COVID-19 vaccines is still being determined by ongoing clinical trials.