COVID-19 vaccination information for healthcare workers
Healthcare workers face a higher risk of COVID infection and illness compared to the general population. We might also, unwittingly, be responsible for transmitting the virus to the vulnerable population in our care.
This is why healthcare workers have been prioritised to get a COVID vaccine when it becomes available in Australia. Your support and uptake of the vaccine, while vital to your own protection, will also support higher uptake in the community.
Note: The Australian Government is responsible for vaccinating all aged/disability care staff and residents (including Queensland Health facilities). More information will be provided as it becomes available.
COVID-19 vaccine information session for Queensland healthcare workers
The Queensland Clinical Senate hosted a second virtual information session on 22 February 2021. The information contained within was correct at the time of recording but will change as more information becomes available. Please refer to the FAQs or links on this page to ensure you access the latest available information.
Note: This information is current at 20 February 2021. It will be updated as more information on supply and distribution is confirmed or becomes available.
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Queensland is scheduled to commence on Monday 22 February 2021. The COVID-19 vaccine Queensland rollout strategy details the priority vaccination of Queensland healthcare workers in Phase 1a and future phases.
The first 100 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in Queensland will be administered at the Gold Coast University Hospital on 22 February.
The Australian Government will also begin vaccinating residents and workers in aged care and disability accommodation in Queensland using an outreach model coordinated by a range of providers.
Further doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered at the Princess Alexandra Hospital (24 February 2021) and Cairns Hospital (26 February 2021).
The AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to arrive in Australia in mid-March with local production of the vaccine to occur shortly thereafter in Melbourne. It is anticipated Queensland will receive supplies of AstraZeneca in mid-to-late March.
As the rollout progresses and vaccine supply increases, more facilities will come on board as Queensland Government vaccination locations across the state.
Queensland healthcare workers will receive the vaccine available at the time and location of their appointment. There is no opportunity to preference a vaccine. The availability of either vaccine will depend on the distribution schedule from the Australian Government.
Vaccination screening questions and consent
As recipients/consumers, Queensland healthcare workers will be required to complete Pre Vaccination Screening Questions and provide Vaccination Consent prior to receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations. More information is available in the Queensland COVID-19 vaccination information resource or by viewing the forms below.
- COVID-19 Pre-Vaccination Screening Questions (PDF 203 kB)
- COVID-19 Vaccination Consent - Adult (18 years and over) (PDF 203 kB)
- COVID-19 Vaccination Consent - Young Person (16-17 years) (PDF 209 kB)
Frequently asked questions
Frontline healthcare workers who are eligible for vaccination during Phase 1a of the rollout will receive an invitation to attend their closest vaccination hub. These workers will have been identified as eligible by their employer (including the private sector), and their details provided to Queensland Health.
Queensland healthcare workers will receive the vaccine available at the time and location of their appointment. The availability of either vaccine will depend on the distribution schedule from the Australian Government.
ThePfizer vaccine will be administered to Queensland healthcare workers under Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccine national roll-out strategy from the week commencing 22 February 2021.
The first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are scheduled for delivery in March 2021 and will also be available during Phase 1a of the rollout strategy.
Note: Both doses of your vaccination series must be completed with the same product/vaccine. The first shot starts building protection. A second shot a few weeks later is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer. The safety and efficacy of a mixed-product series have not yet been evaluated.
Initial vaccination hubs for Queensland are being established in Townsville, Cairns, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane (RBWH and PA hospitals). These sites were selected as having the highest COVID-19 risk due to being major destinations and entry points for international travellers.
Details on additional hubs will be released as they become available.
The results from clinical trials to date have shown both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines to be effective in providing protection against COVID-19 for the majority of recipients.
All vaccines are thoroughly tested for safety before they are approved for use in Australia. This includes careful analysis of clinical trial data, ingredients, chemistry, manufacturing and other factors. The TGA assesses the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccines before they are registered for use in Australia. This process is amongst one of the most thorough in the world.
The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective and it takes a few weeks for your body to build up protection from the virus. You may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but vaccination should lessen the severity of any infection.
The evidence on whether COVID-19 vaccination reduces the chance of you passing on the virus is less clear. Most vaccines reduce the overall risk of infection, but some vaccinated people may get mild or asymptomatic infection and therefore be able to pass the virus on.
It is likely that any infection in a vaccinated person will be less severe and that viral shedding will be shortened. We therefore expect that vaccinated healthcare staff will be less likely to pass infection onto their patients, families and friends.
As above, you will still need to follow infection control guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct PPE. To continue to protect yourself, patients, family and friends, you should continue to:
- practice physical distancing
- wash your hands carefully and frequently
- follow the current PPE advice.
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, ask your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or call 13 HEALTH. Please follow your local HR guidelines should you feel too unwell to work following your vaccination.
People with underlying medical conditions can receive TGA-authorised COVID-19 vaccines provided they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.
In preparation for vaccine rollout, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is currently finalising clinical advice for health care providers on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia in 2021. This will include advice in relation to pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Please discuss pregnancy, immunosuppression and other contraindications with your immunisation provider ahead of vaccination.
The experience with other vaccines shows variable durations of protection. For example, the seasonal influenza requires annual vaccinations, because the virus mutates. Other vaccines, such as those for rubella or measles provide multi-year or even life-long protection from disease. While there appears to be some mutation of the SARS-CoV-2, results to date indicate that mutations are limited, not necessarily affecting the target of the vaccines. The scientific community and regulators will monitor whether the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 changes over time and, if so, whether vaccines can continue protecting people from infection with new variants. However, we do not yet know how long protection from any of these vaccines lasts. We will get better insights in 2021 and 2022.
The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory and individuals will maintain the option to choose not to vaccinate. However, policies around staff vaccination are the responsibility of individual employers. Make sure to check with your workplace about their policies and expectations. A worker who chooses not to be vaccinated may be redeployed by their employer if they face a risk of exposure to COVID-19 cases.
Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) - Investigation into risk of COVID-19 vaccinations in elderly patients
Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) - How COVID-19 vaccines will be regulated for safety and effectiveness