explainer

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to all Australians. Here's what you need to know.

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, all Australians can now get the AstraZeneca vaccine.

With four Australian cities - Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Perth - now in lockdown, the urgency to innoculate as many Australians as possible has heightened.  

Currently, less than five per cent of the Australian population is fully vaccinated. On Tuesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian set the target of "at least" 80 per cent of the population being vaccinated before we can return to "normal".

This came after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced an "informed consent" plan to allow GPs to administer AstraZeneca to all adults, regardless of age, effective immediately. 

Here's everything you need to know. 

But isn't AstraZeneca for people over 60?

The AstraZeneca vaccine has so far been reserved for people over 60 due to the rare risk of blood clots in younger people. 

The Pfizer vaccine is still the recommended vaccine for Australians under the age of 60, and people aged between 40 and 59 are eligible to get the Pfizer.

The health advice has not changed, but the accessibility to the vaccine has.

After the emergency meeting of the National Cabinet on Monday night, it was decided that younger people can receive the AstraZeneca if they want to and are fully accepting of the rare health risks associated with the vaccine. 

The COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine is now available for all Australians. Image: Getty. 

So, if I'm under 60, how do I get the AstraZeneca vaccine?

If you're under 60, you can call your local GP and book an appointment where the doctor will ensure you're a suitable person for the vaccine. 

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The government has established a no-fault indemnity scheme to provide legal risk for GPs in the unlikely event the vaccination causes problems. 

How has this news been received?

According to AAP, medical clinics have since been inundated with booking requests, with some GPs blindsided by the announcement late on Monday.

Karen Price from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners welcomed the decision, saying as long as people understood the low risk of rare blood clots, she would have no hesitation giving a well-informed patient under 40 the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Less than 24 hours after the announcement, many young Australians have booked in to received the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

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What if I want to wait until the Pfizer vaccine?

You can wait. 

But it's still unclear when Australians under 40 will be able to get the Pfizer vaccine. 

The Government's vaccine eligibility calculator is here

Feature image: Getty.

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