International students in Australia: Guide to getting vaccinated

  • General

Vaccine rollouts are currently underway worldwide, including in Australia. The Australian government’s daily vaccine figures on Friday showed 70.5% of people over the age of 16 have now received at least one dose. International students in Australia are also highly encouraged to get vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines were developed using science that has been around for decades. They went through all the required stages of clinical trials. Extensive testing and monitoring have shown that these vaccines are safe and effective.

Why get the vaccine? According to reports, vaccinated people are less likely to get long COVID, or persistent symptoms (or a symptom) three months after a COVID infection. One study also  showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than two times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.

International students in Australia are eligible for the vaccine. Source: Orlando Sierra/AFP

International students in Australia: How to get vaccinated

International students in Australia can get the COVID-19 vaccine for free. The Department of Health notes: “COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia, even if you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This includes people without a Medicare card, overseas visitors, international students, migrant workers and asylum seekers.”

Students can find a clinic where they can receive a vaccine using the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility checker. After answering some questions about your health, students will then be able to make a booking on the platform.

Those who don’t have a Medicare card or are not eligible for Medicare can get their free vaccination at:  

  • Commonwealth vaccinations clinics
  • State or territory vaccination clinics
  • Community pharmacies that are administering COVID-19 vaccines

International students in Australia who don’t have a Medicare card are advised to apply for an Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI). The IHI will enable your COVID-19 vaccination and all future vaccinations in Australia to be accurately recorded. It will also enable you access to an Immunisation History Statement, which can be used as evidence of your vaccination. You can create an account online.

International students in Australia are expected to retain evidence of their full course of COVID-19 vaccinations (i.e., two doses for most brands). The documentation must include at least the students’ name, vaccination date, and vaccine brand.

What should I do while waiting to get vaccinated?

While waiting to get vaccinated, international students in Australia should continue to practise good hygiene, practise physical distancing, follow the limits for public gatherings and understand how to isolate if needed, advises the government. Students should also ensure that their Medicare details are up to date.

For enquiries, call the National Coronavirus Helpline.