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COVID-19 vaccine – all you need to know

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in many ways. The world that we’re living in will never be the same with all the changes happening.

Vaccines have saved millions of lives around the world. Vaccines work by preparing the body’s natural defense to recognise and fight off the virus that they target.

It’s more important now than ever to get the correct information and how the COVID-19 vaccine works. We’ve put together some most asked questions with answers so you can get the right information on the vaccine to be well-informed.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

The COVID-19 vaccines work by preparing the body to defend itself against COVID-19. For more information, visit SA Health FAQs factsheet.

Is it safe?

COVID-19 vaccine and how it works

The COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for safety, quality, and effectiveness. The TGA will continue to monitor the safety of vaccines after they are registered in Australia so that they can detect and respond to any safety concerns. The TGA will also publish a weekly safety report that includes data on received reports of suspected side effects and all safety information from Australia and overseas. For more information, visit the TGA website. More information about the safety of the vaccines can be found on the Department of Health website – are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Do I still need to continue COVID-safe practice after the vaccination?

It is important to continue practicing good hand hygiene, social distancing and staying at home if you are unwell, especially during the roll out of the vaccine program.

Are there any side effects?

Vaccines, like any other medication or natural therapy, can have reactions or side effects. The extent and severity of side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are similar to those from other vaccines. As part of regulatory assessment of all vaccines, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) considers information about possible side effects. For a vaccine to be registered for use in Australia, the benefits must outweigh the risks. You may experience minor reactions or side effects following vaccination. Most reactions or side effects last no more than a couple of days and do not require special treatment. Serious reactions like allergic reactions are extremely rare. Vaccines are monitored for a long time and even after a vaccine is given, it is still monitored for safety. Healthcare professionals contribute to ongoing monitoring by informing the TGA of any side effects, even if they are very minor. This means the TGA can oversee the safety of a vaccine across the country and, in the unlikely event that there is a safety risk, inform healthcare providers, the community and the Government as soon as possible.

Common reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines include:

  • tenderness, pain and swelling at the injection site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle and joint pain
  • chills
  • fever

Some people may also experience redness at the injection site, nausea, itching at the injection site, pain in the limb, enlarged lymph nodes, difficulty sleeping or generally feel unwell. The Department of Health website section What happens after I am vaccinated for COVID-19?  outlines possible side effects and what to do if you experience one.

Are other vaccinations important?

COVID-19 vaccine and essential information

It is very important that you reduce your risk of getting other illnesses while COVID-19 remains in our community. It is important that you get the flu vaccination as soon as possible. Please note – as of 1 June 2021 anyone entering or working at an Aged Care Home must have had an up to date flu vaccination.

I am concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine in relation to my own health

If you have any specific concerns about the vaccine, especially in relation to your personal health you should discuss this with your doctor.

We hope this helps you stay informed and get the most updated information you need during these challenging times.

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