Frequently asked questions
Which COVID-19 vaccine am I eligible to receive?
The Australian Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has currently approved 3 vaccines for use in Australia:
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends the COVID-19 Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) vaccine as the preferred vaccines for people aged 12 to 59 years, and the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) for people aged 18 years and above. Currently, the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine is not approved for people under the age of 18 years.
If you are a University of Melbourne staff or student and you are unsure of your eligibility or have concerns or questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, you can make an appointment at the Health Service to discuss with a GP.
Who can get the COVID -19 vaccine?
Everyone over the age of 12 can get the Comirnaty (Pfizer) or the Spikevax (Moderna) vaccine.
Children aged 5 to 11 can receive a smaller dose of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine.
People aged between 18-59 years can have the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine, however, will be required to:
-Have an assessment of suitability by a general practitioner; and
-Provide written consent.
What else do I need to do before making an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
If you are a domestic student or staff member and are registered or eligible for Medicare, please make sure your details are up to date with Medicare. You can do this using either your:
If you don’t have your account set up, you can:
- Enrol in Medicare, if you’re not already enrolled.
- Set up your Medicare online account if you’re enrolled in Medicare, but don’t have Medicare linked to myGov.
If you are an overseas student or staff member and not eligible for Medicare, you will need to obtain an Individual Health Identifier (IHI) to receive your COVID-19 vaccine as well as other vaccines, including the flu vaccine.
Please click to get an Individual Health Identifier (IHI).
What booster is available at the Health Service?
The University of Melbourne Health Service is administering the Pfizer and the Moderna as boosters. Regardless of which COVID-19 vaccine you received for your initial doses, you can still receive one of these as your booster. The Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) can be administered (under special circumstances) as a booster but a consultation with a GP is required first.
Is the booster mandatory?
Boosters are not mandatory, though it is highly recommended to have your third dose to maintain best possible protection for you, your loved ones and the community against the virus and any new emerging strains.
When can I get my booster?
You are eligible to get your booster if you are over the age of 16 and have had both doses of your primary course of COVID-19 vaccine at least 3 months ago. At this time, boosters are not recommended for individuals under the age of 16.
Severely immunocompromised people may qualify for a fourth booster dose but an appointment with a GP is required to discuss eligibility.
I’ve tested positive to COVID. Do I still need a booster and if so, when can I get it?
A booster vaccination is still highly recommended, even if you have tested positive to COVID and have had a two-dose primary vaccine course.
Currently, ATAGI does not state a specific waiting time and instead recommends for you to wait until you have no COVID symptoms and feel well. You can delay your booster 4 – 6 months after having COVID. If needed, you can book an appointment with your general practitioner to apply for a temporary vaccination exemption while you recover.
How can I book my child in for their COVID-19 vaccination?
You can make their appointment online via the University of Melbourne Health Service website. To ensure a smooth vaccination process, please book the appointment under your child’s name and select the correct appointment type. Either child Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccination for children aged 5 – 11 or Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccination for children aged 12 years and above. You must indicate that your child is under the age of 12 years as the preparation and dose for children is different to that of an adult.
If your child does not have a Medicare card number, please apply for an IHI before your appointment and link it to your MyGov account. Without and IHI number you will not be able to obtain proof of your child’s vaccination.
I had AstraZeneca for my primary course of vaccination, will I get sick after the booster vaccine?
You should expect to feel slightly unwell after your vaccine regardless of what first and second dose you had. All vaccines may cause side effects. These side effects are generally mild and last 1-2 days.
Common side effects include:
- Muscle or joint pain
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain)
- Local reaction to injection site (redness, pain, swelling, itchiness)
If you have persistent side effects that you are concerned about, you can book an appointment with a GP and report the side effect to TGA. More information about how to report can be found at the TGA website: https://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-suspected-side-effects-associated-covid-19-vaccine.
What is an Individual Health Identifier (IHI) and do I need one?
If you are not eligible for Medicare, e.g. you are an international student on a visa, then you must get an Individual Health Identifier (IHI) before booking your appointment at the Health Service.
This will allow you access to your COVID-19 immunisation statement via the myGov website. Find out how to setup a myGov account if you require assistance with access to your vaccination record.
It may take several weeks to get your IHI so be sure to register for one now.
How much does the COVID-19 vaccine cost?
COVID-19 vaccines will be free for everyone living in Australia including citizens, permanent residents and most visa-holders. Those on visitor visas, electronic travel authority, eVisitor and Transit visas are currently excluded.
You will not need a prescription from a GP to get vaccinated.
If you have a Medicare card, please bring it with you.
Can I get my flu vaccine (or any other vaccine) at the same time as my COVID-19 vaccine?
No. You must wait at least one week between getting the COVID-19 vaccine and any other type of vaccination, including the flu jab.
If you have recently received any vaccines, please ensure you wait at least one week after the date you received any other vaccine(s) before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will I need?
Both the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine and the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine require two doses.
The AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) doses are given 4-12 weeks apart, however, the recommendation is 12 weeks for greatest efficacy. The Health Service will be accepting 6 week vaccination bookings for 2nd doses.
The Comirnaty (Pfizer) doses are given 3-6 weeks apart. The Health Service will be accepting 3 week vaccination bookings for 2nd doses.
1 booster dose is recommended 3 months after you have had your 2nd COVID-19 vaccination.
Where can I go for more information about COVID-19 vaccines?
For the latest news and information about vaccines in Australia, visit the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccine website.
How do I upload my overseas COVID vaccination record to the Australian Government?
If you are a Melbourne University student or staff member, please make an in-person appointment with one of our GPs. You will be required to bring a hard copy of your official vaccination record (translated to English) provided by your Country, that will state the COVID vaccination you were given along with the date your vaccination was administered and the batch number. You will also be required to bring your passport for verifying your identity.
Please ensure you have your Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) number as we cannot upload your vaccinations to the Australian Government without one.
How to get proof of my COVID vaccinations?
There are 5 ways you can show your COVID-19 proof of vaccination to gain entry to businesses and venues in Victoria.
- COVID-19 digital certificate via the Service Victoria app
- COVID-19 digital certificate saved to a smartphone wallet
- Printed copy of COVID-19 digital certificate
- Printed copy of immunisation history statement
- Eligible proof of vaccination exemption
Please click on this link for detailed instructions.
The Department of Health has broadened COVID-19 testing criteria to include anyone with mild symptoms. To undertake a test, visit the Where to get tested page to locate testing centres near you.
If you have tested positive to COVID-19
Please notify the University by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, phone number and contact details. Your information will be kept confidential. For more information please visit COVID-19 testing and notification page.
COVID-19 documents for travel purposes only
The University Health Service offers the gold standard COVID PCR test.
Some countries require different tests and documentation when you are returning to your home country. The Health Service cannot provide tests for countries requiring tests other than the COVID PCR.
If you require a returning traveller COVID test, please contact the University's COVID-19 hotline on (03) 8344 6905 to see which testing site you may need to attend.
The Health Service has a dedicated COVID-19 Hotline for University of Melbourne students and staff members. Please contact this hotline for advice if you:
- Are feeling unwell and have COVID-19 symptoms (fever, breathing difficulties, cough, sore throat, fatigue and/or tiredness)
- Have recently returned from overseas
- Have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
- Are a health care worker or aged care worker, or
- Live in a residential college or student accommodation.
COVID-19 Health Service Hotline
- Phone: (03) 8344 6905
- Hours: 8.45am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. For assistance outside these hours call the Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.