COVID-19 Vaccine

Busy Bee Pharmacy is an approved vaccination provider for COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines help to protect our community against Coronavirus by preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19. Vaccinations are voluntary and free to all Australian citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers and temporary visa-holders.

Busy Bee Pharmacy is committed in supporting the Australian Government in providing COVID-19 immunisations for our local area and wider community. Community Pharmacy is a critical partner from Phase 2A of the roll out.

Booking your COVID-19 vaccination appointment

When it is your turn to get vaccinated, you can book HERE, use the booking form below, call us on 08 9328 7885 or simply drop into our Northbridge store and talk to one of our friendly staff.

It is advisable to book appointments as we cannot always accommodate for walk-ins.

Getting ready for your appointment

If you cannot attend your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible so we can allocate your time slot to another person and re-book your appointment. This helps to keep vaccine wastage at a minimum and keeps the vaccine rollout at speed.

Please do not come to your vaccination appointment:

· if you are feeling unwell with fever, cough, runny nose or other symptoms that could be from COVID-19

· if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, or have tested positive for COVID-19

· if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, or

· if you are in isolation/quarantine.

Your safety is our priority.

For public safety due to COVID-19, please follow the guidance of our Pharmacy team regarding when attending your appointment to ensure we provide you with the personalised care and support you need.

After Your Vaccination

After receiving any vaccine, you may experience minor side effects. Most side effects are mild and usually last no more than a few days.

Common reactions to COVID-19 vaccinations include:

· a sore arm

· tiredness and fatigue

· headache

· low level fever

· chills

· muscle pain, or

· joint pain.

Some people will have more significant flu-like symptoms from this vaccination compared to other vaccines and may require time away from normal activities.

After your COVID-19 vaccination, it is also important that you continue to protect those around you by:

· washing your hands regularly with soap and water

· keeping 1.5m from others

· staying informed about local restrictions

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are the COVID-19 Vaccines safe?

Australia has some of the toughest safety standards in the world. All vaccines approved for use in Australia undergo robust scientific testing and analysis by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to ensure they are effective and safe. For answers to all your COVID-19 vaccine questions please visit the Australian Government Department of Health resources here.

2. How were these vaccines developed so quickly?

While it may appear they have been developed very quickly, researchers around the world have been working hard to develop COVID-19 vaccines from the earliest stages of the pandemic. In response to the impacts of COVID-19, worldwide, unprecedented funding and collaboration occurred between regulators, governments, vaccine developers and scientists which allowed these vaccines to be developed quickly without compromising on quality, safety, and effectiveness.

3. Is the COVID-19 vaccination compulsory?

While the Australian Government supports and promotes immunisation, it is not mandatory, and individuals can choose whether to get vaccinated.

4. How effective is the vaccine?

The results from the clinical trials to date have shown all vaccines to be up to extremely effective in providing protection against COVID-19. Studies have also been consistent in finding greater than 80% reductions in rates of infection and hospitalisation, with substantial reduction in deaths.

5. Are the vaccines effective against newer strains of COVID-19?

Yes. So far, clinical trials are showing that the vaccine induces antibodies that can respond to a variety of mutations. Health authorities will continue to monitor the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against variant strains.

It appears only modest differences in vaccine effectiveness were noted after the receipt of two vaccine doses and these differences were more marked after the receipt of only the first dose. This finding would support efforts to maximise vaccine uptake with two doses as a complete vaccination course.

6. Which COVID-19 vaccines are available, and which will I get at Busy Bee Pharmacy?

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the first vaccine to be provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for administration to individuals 12 years and older. This vaccine is a mRNA vaccine and requires two doses at a minimum of 21 days apart. Pfizer/BioNTech also has a Paediatric vaccine available for children aged 5 -11 years.

The AstraZeneca/University of Oxford (AZ) vaccine is approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for those aged 18 years and over and requires two doses, 4-12 weeks apart. The AZ vaccine is highly effective at preventing death and severe illness among people who contract COVID-19. There has been much concern regarding this vaccine and the prevalence of blood clots in a very rare but serious side effect called thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia (TTS). These rare cases of TTS have been seen mostly in younger age groups therefore the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were previously the recommended vaccine for those under 60 years of age. The COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine can be used in adults aged under 60 years where the benefits clearly outweigh the risk for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits. People who are considering vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should be aware of this potential complication as part of providing informed consent.

The Moderna Spikevax vaccine is the second mRNA vaccine which has recently received provisional approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This vaccine along with variant-specific versions of the vaccine (to address longer term immunity and emerging viral variants) are now available in pharmacies. Due to the similarity to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine it is used in children and adults between 12-60 years old as well as children aged 6-11.

The Novavax vacine is the most recent vaccine that received approval by the TGA and is a protein-based vaccine. This type of vaccine contains part of the coronavirus spike protein but does not contain any live virus and it cannot give you COVID-19. The Novavax vaccine also has an ingredient called the Matrix-M adjuvant which helps create a stronger immune response to the vaccine.

Your immune system cells recognise the spike protein as a threat and begin building an immune response against it.

Which COVID-19 vaccine you can receive will be primarily determined by the Australian Government based on age, vaccine availability, safety and appropriateness. Currently Busy Bee Pharmacy is administering following COVID-19 vaccines:

Astra-Zeneca, Novavax, Pfizer (incl. Pfizer Paediatric) and Moderna (incl Paediatric doses). 

Please note, the government may change eligibility criteria for the vaccines on short notice depending on availability and other situations.

7. What are the symptoms of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)?

This is a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine but can be very serious and can cause long-term disability and death.

The condition causes thrombosis (blood clotting) and thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet counts). It is different from general clotting disorders such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE). TTS can occur at different parts of the body, including the brain (called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis) and in the abdomen and the low level of blood platelets can potentially cause bleeding.

People should seek medical attention immediately if they experience any of 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:

> blurred vision

> difficulty with speech

> drowsiness

> seizures

· 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 vaccine side effects symptom checker if you have concerns about any symptoms after your vaccine. The checker is also available through the National Coronavirus Helpline, 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day.

Patient resource – After your COVID-19 (AZ) vaccination

8. When am I eligible to be vaccinated in pharmacy?

To find out when you are eligible to receive the vaccine, complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker located here. This will tell you which phase of the rollout you are in and you can choose to be notified of when you become eligible should you not be currently eligible.

9. How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

The Australian government has committed to providing the COVID-19 vaccine for free to all Australian citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers and temporary or bridging visa-holders.

Please remember to bring your Medicare card to your appointment at the pharmacy or we may not be able to administer your vaccine. If you don’t have a Medicare card, or are not eligible for Medicare, you can get your free vaccination at any Commonwealth Vaccination clinic or State/Territory Vaccination clinic.

10. Can I get the 4th booster?

If you are aged 65 and older you can receive a fourth booster shot which can be given no earlier than 4 months after your 3rd COVID-19 vaccine. This recommendation may change as more evidence becomes available.

11. When should I get my flu shot this year?

Annual immunisation is recommended in Autumn (March-May) each year prior to the peak of the flu season which usually occurs between June and September. 

Protection from the flu vaccine is expected to develop two to three weeks after immunisation and is expected to last for the whole season, but optimal protection occurs in the first three to four months after immunisation. You should not delay immunisation until closer to winter, as the flu can occur at any time, and the peak of the flu season may come earlier than expected. Getting immunised sooner minimises the risk of catching the flu.

12. Do people who have had COVID-19 and recovered need to get vaccinated?

People who have had COVID-19 and recovered should still be vaccinated. Experts don’t yet know how long any natural immunity might last and it is therefore recommended that even if you had COVID-19 earlier, you should still get the COVID-19 vaccine when you can.

13. Why do I need to wait 15 minutes after my vaccination?

This is a requirement for any vaccination administered anywhere in Australia. Health professionals who deliver vaccinations are trained in first aid and CPR and know how to respond to an anaphylactic reaction. In the unlikely event of a severe reaction, the Pharmacist and other pharmacy team members will act immediately to provide emergency assistance.

If a serious reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine occurs, it will usually occur within 15 minutes of being vaccinated. It is important for you to wait in the pharmacy for 15 minutes after being vaccinated so you can be observed for any serious reactions.

14. Can COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?

There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of ANY vaccine. People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.

15. Should you take blood thinning medication (such as Aspirin) before having the AstraZeneca vaccine?

No, it is not recommended to take over the counter medicine before receiving a vaccination for the purpose of preventing potential side effects.

You should continue to take prescribed medication unless advised by your medical practitioner.

Always discuss any existing medical conditions with your doctor or pharmacist before you get any vaccine.

To date, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) have not found any specific biological risk factors or pre-existing medical conditions that increases the risk of having thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after the AstraZeneca vaccine. There is no evidence that suggests that taking blooding thinning medications will reduce your chance of getting this rare side effect.

16. Can I have the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant or breast feeding?

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the recommended vaccine for pregnant women at any stage of their pregnancy. Pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and their babies also have a higher risk of being born prematurely. Real world evidence has shown that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for pregnancy and breastfeeding therefore women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.

Find out more:

Patient resource – Information on COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine

Patient resource – Preparing for COVID-19 vaccination

Patient resource – Information on thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS)

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