COVID-19 health and vaccination information
For health information call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84), or visit the Queensland Health website for information on COVID-19.
A list of your nearest testing centres can be found here.
For emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.
In an emergency call 000.
Current vaccination recommendations
Current vaccination recommendations are as follows:
- COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer (Comirnaty) is preferred over COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in adults aged under 60 years. The recommendation is revised due to a higher risk and observed severity of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) related to the use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine observed in Australia in the 50-59 year old age group than reported internationally and initially estimated in Australia.
- For those aged 60 years and above, the individual benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine are greater than in younger people. The risks of severe outcomes with COVID-19 increase with age and are particularly high in older unvaccinated individuals. The benefit of vaccination in preventing COVID-19 with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca outweighs the risk of TTS in this age group and underpins its ongoing use in this age group.
- COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca can be used in adults aged under 60 years where the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits.
- Anyone who has had their first dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca without any serious adverse effects can be given the second dose, including adults under 60 years
- All adolescents aged 12 years and over are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. To get a child 12yrs or over vaccinated:
Register via the Queensland Health vaccine bookings website
Use the National Eligibility Checker to find a GP or Pharmacy
Use COVID-19 Near Me to book at any available site.
TheÂ Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) currently recommends that the Pfizer Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine is preferred in adults aged under 60 years who have not already received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine.
In Queensland, persons aged 40 to 59 years can be administered the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca if:
- a person aged 40 to 59 years asks for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, and
- a person aged 40 to 59 years provides informed consent which must be managed by a doctor, and
- a person aged 40 to 59 years understands the risks of Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).
Persons aged 60 years and over should continue to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca as per the ATAGI advice.
On 28 June 2021, the Australian Government announced indemnity cover for GPs to counsel patients under 60 years wishing to be vaccinated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. Please refer to the latest ATAGI advice including this statement regarding the use of COVID-19 vaccines in an outbreak setting.
Please refer to ATAGI, the Weighing up the potential benefits against risk of harm from COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca factsheet or the Australian Government website for more information.
Can our organisation make a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for employees or volunteers?
As Australia rolls out the COVID-19 vaccine, some employers are thinking about whether they can require their workers to be vaccinated as a condition of employment. Organisations that work with vulnerable groups or have direct contact with the public might have a greater sense of urgency to vaccinate their staff.
Pro Bono Australia has examined the pressing ethical matters surrounding mandating COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace. The federal government says in the absense of specific health orders it’s up to business to decide. This article examines previous vaccine mandates in Australia, promoting choice, making it fair for employees, and summarises potential approaches. Read in full.
The information below has been adapted from Justice Connect. For the latest updates in this space please visit their website.
The Fair Work Commission has considered cases of unfair dismissal (non-COVID related) for refusal to be vaccinated. These decisions suggest that vaccination may be an inherent requirement of employment in some fields, depending on the nature of the role and workplace.
On 28 June 2021, National Cabinet agreed to mandate that residential aged care workers receive at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by mid-September 2021. This mandate will be a condition of working in an aged care facility. To support the vaccination of these workers, under an $11 million grant program, residential aged care facilities will receive payments for casual staff going off-site for vaccination, for paid leave for casual staff who become unwell after vaccination and who don’t have other leave entitlements, and to facilitate off-site vaccination for employees.
Read the National Cabinet media statement for more information.
As state and federal governments roll out guidance on the issue of mandating vaccination, organisations should be cautious about requiring vaccination as a condition of employment. The safety benefits need to be balanced with other legal issues including:
- Unfair dismissal claims – Employers might have difficulties defending unfair dismissal claims in situations where their workplace can be reasonably regarded as COVID-safe by using other means such as social distancing, masks or even personal protective equipment.
- Discrimination claims – Employers need to consider whether vaccination should be an inherent requirement of the employment and what would be considered a reasonable basis for refusal; watch out for discrimination on the basis of medical or religious grounds.
- Workers compensation claims – Employers may face workers’ compensation claims from employees who experience harmful side effects from the COVID vaccine if the vaccine is taken as an employment directive in work environments where vaccination is not mandatory.
The Fair Work Ombudsman publishes guidance on COVID-19 vaccinations and the workplace. Access this page to get the most up-to-date information and advice.
Movement of healthcare and support workforce between restricted facilities
The Restrictions for Locked Down Areas (South-East Queensland) Direction (No. 4) was updated on 4 August 2021 to clarify directions around the movement of the healthcare and support workforce between restricted facilities (hospitals, aged care facilities and disability accommodation services).
In general, the Direction is designed to limit the amount of movement between facilities as much as possible, and provides the operator of the facility with the decision-making ability to determine what workforce is required where. Further information on how the direction impacts visitors and employees will be regularly updated through FAQs and can be found here.
For staff of disability accommodation services in South-East Queensland locked down local government areas the following provisions apply:
With the approval of the facility operator, if you have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine you can work outside of the locked down local government area you live in and:
- work at any hospital, aged care facility or disability accommodation service within any locked down area
- only work at a hospital, aged care facility or disability accommodation service outside of the South East Queensland lockdown areas if:
- the facility is your predominant place of work; or
- it is necessary to prevent a critical workforce shortage at the facility; or
- to provide essential health or medical care that cannot be provided by someone who has not been in the locked down area.
If you travel outside of a locked down area, you must behave as if you are still in a locked down area, including the use of medium level PPE and complying with home quarantine when not at work. You must also exercise physical distancing wherever possible.
Operators of facilities outside of a locked down area should contact workers who live or work in a locked down area to confirm if their clinic, shift or visit will proceed as scheduled. The updated Direction provides them with this discretion.
With the approval of the facility operator, if you have not had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, you can:
- only work at a hospital, aged care facility or disability accommodation service within the locked down local government area you live in
- only work at a hospital, aged care facility or disability accommodation service outside of your locked down local government area (but not outside the South-East Queensland locked down areas) if:
- the facility is your predominant place of work; or
- it is necessary to prevent a critical workforce shortage at the facility; or
- to provide essential health or medical care that cannot be provided by a person in the locked down local government area of the facility.
This direction applies to shared disability accommodation services as defined in the Disability Accommodation Services Direction (No 21):
- four or more people with disability reside with people who are not members of their family; and
- the residents share enclosed common living areas within the facility; and
- the residents are provided with disability supports within the facility.
Further information on restrictions for disability accommodation services can be found here.
If requirements within the direction impact the essential support you provide to NDIS participants, and you are unable to arrange alternative staffing, please contact the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission by phoning 1800 035 544 or complete Form 13A, available here.
The Chief Health Officer, Deputy Chief Health Officer or their delegate may give a person or class of persons an exemption from a requirement of this Direction if extreme exceptional circumstances exist. Further information on how to apply for an exemption can be found here.
Australian Government COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme
The Australian Government is developing a claims scheme to reimburse people who suffer a moderate to significant impact following an adverse reaction to an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
The scheme will provide a simple, streamlined process to reimburse or compensate eligible people for their injuries without the need for complex legal proceedings.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) closely monitor adverse events for suspected side effects in vaccines used in Australia, often finding they are not caused by the vaccine itself. You can learn about the TGA’s COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring and reporting activities or report a suspected side effect.
This new federal scheme will cover the costs of injuries $5,000 and above due to administration of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine or due to an adverse event that is considered to be caused by a COVID-19 vaccination.
Find out more at the Health website.
Information from the NDIA: Supported Independent Living (SIL) Vaccination Payments
SIL providers can submit a claim once the NDIS participant has received all required doses to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The invoice for the $150 payment to the NDIA has to be made within 28 days of the final vaccination appointment.
The NDIA website has more information about how SIL providers can claim for this support. Further information can be found in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits 2021-22.
This is a support being provided by the NDIA, and they will be best placed to respond to questions about how providers can claim this payment. Further enquiries should be directed to [email protected] or by calling 1800 800 110.
What is the difference between a casual contact and a close contact?
- ‘Close Contacts’ must immediately quarantine for 14 days and complete the contact tracing self-assessment
- ‘Casual Contacts’ must get tested immediately and quarantine until you get a negative result
- ‘Low Risk Contacts’ do not need to get tested, but monitor for symptoms.
Click here for a full list of up to date contact tracing locations.
If you or a staff member has just been in the general area of listed contact tracing locations but have not visited any of the listed locations, they do not need to self-isolate or get tested.
However, they should watch for COVID-19 symptoms and if they feel unwell, to get tested and self-isolate while waiting for results.
Queensland Health videos: Understanding COVID-19 processes
Other health resources
The Commonwealth recently hosted a webinar for people with disability, their families and carers on COVID vaccination, this recording is now available.
The Commonwealth has also released a new Health Disability Provider Alert.
Easy read and translated resources
Queensland Health is working closely with key stakeholders across the state to ensure that people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds have access to current, culturally appropriate and translated COVID-19 information. This page contains information to help you protect yourself, your family and community.
Knowing how to protect yourself and those that are most vulnerable is important during a pandemic. These practical tips can help protect those who are most vulnerable in your family, household or community.
Access resources translated into more than 20 languages and Easy Read materials here.
Communication resources explaining the vaccination process (COVID-19)
Scope Australia has developed a new resource to help explain the vaccination process. A series of images that can be used to talk about what to expect before you go for a coronavirus vaccine is available on it’s Resources page.
These resources have been developed to talk about the coronavirus with someone who has a communication difficulty.