Health Check

COVID-19 Vaccine boosters

COVID-19 booster vaccine shots; what do they do, who is eligible for it and where to book yours.

Written by Editor Medibank
Bandage on arm of a female after taking vaccine. Close-up of a female patient with bandage on hand after taking injection.

As much as we’d like to put the pandemic behind us, new variants of COVID-19 continue to pose a risk to our communities and health system.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), has recommended a booster dose to increase protection against the risk of infection and serious illness.

Here, we’ll summarise the information available from ATAGI, the federal government and medical professionals to answer some questions you may have regarding the COVID-19 vaccine booster. 

For the latest COVID-19 vaccine information and advice in a different language, please click here.

What are boosters and why do we need it?

According to the Department of Health, whilst two doses of COVID-19 vaccine provides very good protection against severe disease, a booster dose will ensure the protection provided by the previous dose is even stronger and longer lasting.

In doing so, a booster dose increases your protection against:

  • infection with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • severe disease
  • dying from COVID-19.

Who is eligible for a booster and will it cost anything?

COVID-19 booster doses are free for everyone in Australia, and you are eligible to receive one if you:

  • are 16 years or older, and
  • have had your second dose of COVID-19 vaccination at least 3 months ago.

Age requirements may change, so please check the latest eligibility criteria on the Department of Health’s Booster vaccine website.

What booster vaccine will I receive?

If you’re 18 years or older, you can choose either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, regardless of what your first two doses were.

If you’re 16 and 17 years old, or turned 16 since your primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine, you can have the Pfizer vaccine as your booster dose.

What if I had a vaccine overseas that isn’t available in Australia?

For more information about booster dose brands available, please check this Department of Health page, or speak to your GP or pharmacist.

What if I have had COVID-19?

If you have had COVID-19, it’s recommended that you recover from acute COVID-19 illness before receiving your booster dose. Otherwise, there’s no need to wait, so long as it’s been at least 3 months since your primary COVID-19 vaccine dose.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your recovery from COVID-19 and getting your booster, please speak to your GP or vaccine provider.

Are there any side effects from the booster?

According to the Department of Health, the side effects of a booster dose may be similar to those experienced after the first two COVID-19 vaccine doses. Most side effect are mild and go away in a couple of days.

For more information about booster shot vaccine side effects, click here.

Can I have a booster shot if I’m pregnant?

Due to the health risks of COVID-19 on babies and their mothers, it is recommended that pregnant women receive a booster dose 3 months after their primary dose. 

The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have issued the following statement regarding booster eligibility and pregnancy. You can read it here.

Where can I get my booster shot?

To find your nearest vaccine booster location, visit the government’s Vaccine Clinic Finder, or check with your GP or pharmacist.

Useful information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout

For reliable, up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine program, we recommend bookmarking the following the links.

  • For more information about the vaccine and the nationwide rollout, visit the Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine page
  • Subscribe to the latest COVID-19 vaccine updates here
  • Find your state or territory health departments here
  • And for information in other languages, click here

You can also call the National Coronavirus & COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080.

Visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates page on our website for helpful information about Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout and ways in which your Medibank membership can help you at this time.

Eligible Medibank members with hospital cover can also speak with a 24/7 Medibank nurse or 24/7 Mental Health Phone Support on 1800 644 325.

Medibank OSHC members can call the Student Health & Support Line on 1800 887 283.

Booster doses available at Myhealth

Medibank is a proud partner of Myhealth, who have been approved to provide COVID-19 vaccination and boosters through their clinics in NSW, Victoria and Queensland (subject to availability)*. Find your nearest Myhealth clinic here.

*Participating centres only, while stocks last.

Written by Editor Medibank

Previous article

OPSM shines light on link between mental health and eyesight

Next article

How can Australian pharmacies help you?

Related articles