Quarantine and border workers – Phase 1a

Quarantine hotel and international border workers are among the first Western Australians eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

This priority group is also referred to as the ‘Phase 1a’ group, identified as being at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 and hence being infected with and potentially transmitting COVID-19.

Who is being offered the vaccine in Phase 1a?

  • Quarantine hotel workers, including hotel staff, police, security and medical support
  • International airport workers with face to face contact with travellers
  • Security and clinical staff at the international airport
  • Certain staff at sea ports who board and spend time on vessels with crew specifically - marine pilots, fumigators and marine surveyors, and Mission to Seafarers
  • Staff involved in transporting flight crews, certain seaport staff and quarantine hotel transfers

Does this mean all people working in quarantine hotels and international border workers will get vaccinated in Phase 1a?

No. Those vaccinated in Phase 1a are being prioritised based on risk of exposure to COVID-19. People not eligible for vaccine in this initial phase may be eligible in the next phase. Every adult  in Australia is expected to be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by the end of the year.  

Do I have to get the vaccine if it is offered to me?

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

Will the vaccine be free?

Yes, the COVID-19 vaccination is free for all Australian citizens, permanent residents and temporary visa-holders.

How will I find out how to get vaccinated?

If you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, you will receive an email invitation to register for the vaccination from the Department of Health WA. It will be sent to the email address  you have registered with your employer. 

When will I be able to get the vaccine?

If you are eligible for Phase 1a, you will be able to book your appointment once you receive the email invitation from the Department of Health WA.

Which vaccine will I receive as part of the Phase 1a group?   

The Pfizer-BioNTech COMIRNATY vaccine will be used during Phase 1a, although other approved vaccines may be used later in the roll-out. 

How many doses of the vaccine will I need?

You will need two doses of the Pfizer vaccine (delivered by injection). The two doses should be given 3–4 weeks apart.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

The Australian Government ensures that vaccines will only be available to Australians once proven safe and effective for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the TGA for use in Australia (external site).

Will I be protected from the COVID-19 virus once I get the vaccine?

COMIRNATY has been proven in clinical studies to reduce the risk of symptomatic COVID-19 infection by > 90%.  But no vaccine offers perfect protection, so being vaccinated doesn’t mean it’s ok to stop COVID-safe behaviours. We still need to take steps to help reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in the community (such as hand washing, physical distancing etc).

What are the possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

All vaccines can cause side effects, but most are mild, last no more than a couple of days, and resolve without treatment. Common reactions to the COVID-19 vaccination can include:

  • pain, redness and/or swelling where you received the needle
  • fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and/or
  • mild fever

Serious reactions, like severe allergic reactions, are extremely rare. Detailed consumer information is available from the TGA (external site). You may also wish to speak with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you have concerns about the vaccine.

Last reviewed: 23-02-2021

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Information about a service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace professional advice. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified professional for answers to their questions.

Coronavirus information helplines: 13 COVID (13 268 43). Interstate callers: 1800 595 206. International callers: +61 8 9118 3100.