Frequently Asked Questions
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a form of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, headache, muscle & joint pains and fatigue. Some people may experience only mild disease and recover quickly, while others may get very sick very quickly.
Why should I have the COVID-19 vaccine?
Because COVID-19 is a new disease, there is no existing immunity for it in our communities. This means it can spread quickly and widely. It is important for as many people as possible to be immunised against COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity will mean that not only will the vaccinated individual be protected from severe covid disease, the rest of the community will be protected also.
Is there a waiting period between COVID-19 vaccination and influenza vaccination?
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released advice on the relative timing of administering influenza and COVID-19 vaccines. The current advice is that the preferred minimum interval between a dose of any vaccine, including the seasonal influenza vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine is 7 days. An influenza vaccine may be given between doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as long as the minimum interval between vaccines is 7 days before or after. You will be asked to confirm if and when you received your influenza vaccination prior to receiving your COVID-19 vaccination.
Please let us know if you have had any other vaccine, such as influenza, in the 7 days before your COVID-19 appointment. We may need to reschedule.
Which COVID-19 vaccines are National Pharmacies offering?
National Pharmacies is currently able to offer the AstraZeneca vaccine at select locations.
Who can have the AstraZeneca vaccine?
The current advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine should only be administered to people 60 years of age and over.
However, on 26th March 2021 the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca to be included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) for the active immunisation of individuals 18 years and older for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2. https://www.tga.gov.au/covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-chadox1-s
You may be able to be vaccinated against Covid-19 with the AstraZeneca vaccine more information can be found via the government eligibility checker https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility If you are under 60 years of age, please also consult your GP or pharmacist who will discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Do I need a prescription?
No, a prescription is not required if you are having one of our qualified health professionals administer (inject) the vaccine to you in store.
What is the price?
Free. Patients cannot be charged for COVID-19 vaccination services
What does the AstraZeneca vaccine contain?
The active ingredient is the modified adenovirus (ChAdOx1) containing spike protein genetic code, a genetically modified organism (GMO) (AstraZeneca, 2021a). Other non-active ingredients are included to stabilise the vaccine (listed below). No preservatives are used:
- L-Histidine (an amino acid).
- L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate (an amino acid).
- Magnesium chloride hexahydrate (supports many activities inside cells).
- Polysorbate 80 (a stabiliser).
- Sodium chloride.
- Disodium edetate dihydrate (EDTA, a binding agent)
- Water for injection.
Who is administering the vaccination at National Pharmacices?
Qualified Pharmacist immunisers will be administering the vaccination at National Pharmacies. These pharmacists are authorised to administer vaccinations in their relevant state or territory, have completed all necessary immunsiation training/qualifications and have completed the Covid-19 Vaccination Training Program, including the AstraZeneca module.
I have heard that the COVID-19 vaccines can give you COVID-19, is that true?
No, none of the Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in Australia contain the live virus so they cannot give you Covid-19. Some of the side effects from the vaccine such as fever and fatigue may mimic the symptoms of Covid-19, but these symptoms will only last a short time and are a normal sign that the body is mounting an immune response against the virus.
I am fit and healthy so will I be fine without a COVID-19 vaccination?
Covid-19 can spread quickly and rapidly and to anyone. Even those who are fit and healthy can still get Covid-19 and may experience long-standing symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness and chest pain, as a result. Research shows that vaccination against Covid-19 prevents severe disease, hospitalization and death from Covid-19. Also, if you are lucky enough to escape Covid-19 infection with only mild symptoms, you may still pass the disease to someone who may get very sick with it. Getting vaccinated helps to protect not only yourself, but others in your community too.
Do I have to make a booking?
When it is your turn to get vaccinated, you can book online here or through the government eligibility checker website here.
Or if you’d prefer, come into any National Pharmacies store or give us a call and we will help you book in for your first, second or both vaccines.
Do I need a valid Medicare card?
Yes, a Medicare card is required. People who are not eligible for a Medicare card cannot receive their vaccination in a pharmacy but instead will need to visit a Commonwealth Vaccination Clinic. You will be asked to prove your eligibility before you receive your vaccine
What will be provided to me after my vaccination?
We will provide an information leaflet detailing post-vaccination side effects.
The Department of Health has also developed resources about what you can expect after your vaccination. You can access those resources at here.
Who is not able to have an AstraZeneca vaccination at National Pharmacies?
Anyone who is not currently eligible or who does not have a Medicare Card. Please refer to the government eligibility checker to see if you are eligible for vaccination in your state. https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility
Please do not come to your appointment if:
- You are feeling unwell with fever, cough, runny nose or other symptoms that could be from COVID-19
- You are waiting for COVID-19 test results
- You have tested positive for COVID-19
- You are a close contact of someone with COVID-19
Are there any side effects with a COVID-19 vaccinations?
Common reactions to COVID-19 vaccinations include:
Some people will have more significant flu like symptoms from this vaccination compared to other vaccines and may require time away from normal activities. These symptoms are more common after the first dose of AstraZeneca compared to the second dose. You should medical attention immediately if you experience these symptoms:
A severe persistent headache with additional features
- Appears at least 4 days after vaccination
- Does not improve with simple painkillers
- May be worse when lying down or accompanied by nausea and vomiting
Neurological symptoms such as:
Shortness of breath or chest pain
A swollen leg
Persistent abdominal (belly) pain
Tiny blood spots under the skin away from the site of injection together with symptoms above
You can use the COVID-19 vaccines side effect symptoms checker if you have any concerns regarding side effects. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/covid-19-vaccine-side-effect-checker
For all enquiries related to bookings (i.e. making, rescheduling or cancelling a booking as well as booking times) please contact the pharmacy in which you wish to receive your vaccination from.