COVID-19 Vaccination Guide for Sex Workers

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This guide for sex workers about the COVID-19 vaccination rollout aims to support sex workers to make an informed decision about vaccination. It covers: 

This resource is part of our COVID-19 Information Hub for sex workers. It contains other information about sex work and COVID-19 that support sex workers as we continue to be impacted by the pandemic. 

Sex workers face similar occupational risks of COVID-19 transmission to other workers in personal services and entertainment industries. While these industries are not a priority in the Federal vaccine rollout, many sex workers are already eligible for a vaccine due to other factors, such as age, underlying health conditions, other industries we work in, or carer status for those priortised early in the rollout. You do not have to disclose that you are a sex worker in order to get a vaccine, and there are no additional requirements for proof of eligibility for a vaccine for people who work in the sex industry. 

For people who are multilingual, vaccine information in a variety of  languages can be found on the following websites:

This resource is accurate as at the publication date of 9 July 2021. Changes to the rollout will continue to evolve, and we recommend checking your eligibility with the vaccine eligibility checker, speaking with your GP, or contacting your local sex worker peer organisation for more support on local vaccination issues.

Eligibility

Each state and territory across Australia is rolling out vaccinations for COVID-19. Eligibility and booking procedures vary between states and territories. Some are consistent with the federal rollout, and others have additional eligibility. This following table provides a brief overview of state and territory eligibility requirements. Click the link for your state or territory in the table below to read more about eligibility and booking in your state. 

Am I eligible for vaccination? How can I book? 
ACTSame eligibility as the federal government (see below). Visit MyDHR or call 02 5124 7700.
NSWSame eligibility as the federal government (see below). Use the Vaccine Eligibility Checker or call 1800 571 155. 
NTEveryone over 16 able to be vaccinated in NT including guest workers and visitors. Book online or call a NT COVID-19 vaccine clinic, respiratory clinic or a participating GP Clinic. If you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander you can call an Aboriginal Health Clinic
QLDSame eligibility as the federal government (see below) with changes to who is eligible under frontline work.Register your interest here to book.
SAPeople over 16 are eligible if they live in a regional area. For everyone else, federal eligibility applies (see below).If you live in a regional area, use this clinic finder to book. If not, use the Vaccine Eligibility Checker.
TASAll people who are pregnant are eligible. Other than that, federal eligibility applies (see below). Book online or call 1800 671 738.
VIC Federal eligibility applies (see below). Victoria has expanded eligibility to workers in ‘priority industries’ and people who are considered ‘vulnerable and at high risk of contracting or developing serious illness from COVID-19’.Book online, walk in or call
1800 675 398.
WAPeople aged 30 and over are eligible. Federal eligibility applies to people under 30.  Book online or call 13 268 43.

Federal eligibility

The federal roadmap is structured in phases. We are currently at Phase 1b, which includes everyone already eligible under Phase 1a. You may also be eligible under state or territory roll out plans if you aren’t eligible under Phase 1a or 1b, so it’s important to check your eligibility

There may be a gap between eligibility and supply in your state, or long wait times for appointments. 

Federal guidelines state you are eligible for a vaccine now:  

  • If you are 40 or over.
  • If you are 16 to 39 years old, you are eligible if you are in any of these groups:
    • Quarantine and border worker
    • Aged and disability care worker
    • Disability care resident
    • Frontline healthcare worker
    • Other healthcare worker
    • Household contact of quarantine and border workers
    • Critical and high risk worker
    • Traveller with a travel exemption
    • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander 
    • Person with an underlying medical condition or disability
    • Carers (paid and unpaid) of: 
      • a resident of an aged care facility or residential disability accommodation
      • a person 70 years and over
      • a person with a specified underlying medical condition who is eligible
      • a child with a specified underlying medical condition
      • a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant
    • Disability and aged care support volunteers who provide support to people in their homes, respite care, educational, employment, leisure and/or residential settings, including those providing transport and advocacy services.
    • People with disability or age-related conditions (e.g. early onset dementia) attending centre-based services (e.g. day programs, respite care, supported employment).
    • NDIS participants and their carers. 
    • People who have already had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (including individuals who have returned from interstate or overseas) can receive their second dose at the appropriate timing between doses regardless of the phase they are in. 

Recently, the federal government announced that all people aged 18-39 are eligible to receive the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. However, there is conflicting advice from health authorities about the vaccine’s suitability for people under 60 years of age. It is recommended that you discuss this with your GP. 

If you are unsure whether you fall into any of these groups, you can complete the Department of Health’s Vaccine Eligibility Checker. This is a free and anonymous online process that helps you check your eligibility and provides options to book a vaccination appointment if you are eligible. 

If you are not eligible yet, you can register your interest to receive a notification when you are eligible in a future phase of the rollout. 

Booking a Vaccine Appointment

You can use the Vaccine Eligibility Checker to book your vaccine appointment, unless you receive specific information from a GP, employer, or other reliable source about how to book an appointment.  

If you need more information, including access support: 

  • Visit the Department of Health’s COVID-19 website.
  • Call the National COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080. 
  • For translating and interpreting services, call 13 14 50.
  • If you are deaf, hard of hearing or a person with a speech or communication disability, you can visit the National Relay Service website or call 1300 555 727.

Australian Capital Territory

Eligibility

ACT has the same eligibility requirements as the federal government (see above). 

Booking

Eligible people can make a booking:

  • Online 
    • If you have a Medicare card, use the ACT Government booking system MyDHR
    • If you don’t have a Medicare card, call 02 5124 7700. 
  • By phone
    • Call the ACT Government COVID-19 Vaccination Line on 02 5124 7700, 7am to 7pm, daily. 
  • At a GP 
  • At Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service 
    • Call reception on 02 6284 6222, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you are a person with disability, the Access and Sensory Clinic is available to you within the Garran COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic. The clinic is also available for support staff, volunteers or carers attending the appointment as well. 

More info

  • Visit the ACT Vaccine roll-out government website
  • Call the ACT Vaccination phone line on 02 5124 7700.

New South Wales

Eligibility and booking 

  • NSW has the same eligibility requirements as the federal government (see above). 
  • To assess your eligibility and to book an appointment go to the Vaccine Eligibility Checker.  
  • If you don’t have Medicare you will need to call the NSW booking service on 1800 571 155. 

More info

Northern Territory

Eligibility 

All people over the age of 16 are eligible to be vaccinated in NT.  This includes guest workers or travelers residing in the NT for short periods of time. 

Booking

More info

  • NT Health general vaccine rollout info 
  • Call the National COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080 
  • For translating and interpreting services call 13 14 50
  • The NT Government has created audio, video & printed COVID-19 health messages in the majority of Aboriginal languages within NT. 

Queensland

Eligibility

Eligibility in QLD is very similar to the federal government roll-out. There are some additions to their rollout, including paid and unpaid (volunteer) workers that are eligible for vaccinations such as:

  • Frontline Workers (public and private international aeromedical retrieval teams)
  • Emergency service personnel who have contact with the public
    • Surf life savers
    • Marine rescue
    • Queensland Corrective Services, including Youth Detention Centres
  • Workers at international airports
  • Maritime industry workers

Booking

If you are eligible you can ‘register your interest’ on the QLD Government’s vaccination booking website. You will then receive information as to when and where the next available appointment is. 

More info

South Australia

Eligibility 

If you are  over the age of 16 and are living in a regional area, you are eligible for the vaccine. A map indicating which areas of South Australia are ‘regional’ can be found here. If you fall into this category you can use this clinic finder to book your appointment. If you do not fall into this category, you can defer to the federal government rollout requirements. 

Booking

  • If you are a residential aged care worker or disability worker aged 50 and over, you can book by calling 1800 253 787 (9am to 5pm, 7 days). This is because you are eligible to receive Pfizer because of an initiative to fasten the process of vaccinations for workers in this industry. 
  • If you are an eligible aged care worker, there are walk-in spots that are available specifically to you at the following locations:
    • Wayville – 2.00pm to 7.00pm, Thursday 10 June
    • Noarlunga  – 12.30pm to 6pm, Thursday 10 June
    • Elizabeth  – 3.30pm to 7.30pm, Thursday 10 June
  • If you fall into any of the other eligibility categories, you can book via the Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

More Info

Tasmania

Eligibility

This is the same as the federal eligibility, with one addition: all people who are pregnant are eligible to be vaccinated. 

Booking

You can book online or call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

More info

  • TAS Health information on vaccine rollout 
  • Call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Victoria

Eligibility

Victoria has expanded its eligible priority groups beyond the federal scheme to include: 

  • Priority industries:
    • corrective and detention services including community correction staff
    • staff working within high risk accommodation settings, such as supported residential services
    • public transport drivers and other workers that are public-facing
    • ride share and taxi drivers
    • all staff at international ports of entry
  • People considered to be vulnerable and at high risk of contracting or developing serious illness from COVID-19, such as:
    • those experiencing homelessness, sleeping rough, or in emergency accommodation 
    • those receiving drug and alcohol support services 
    • residents of residential mental health facilities
    • those in sensitive accommodation including high rise/low rise public housing, supported residential services, community housing, rooming houses and others
    • prisoners in custody and detainees within corrections facilities 

Booking

If you are eligible and wish to book an appointment you can:

  • Use the VIC Online Booking system
  • Call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 (for an interpreter, press 0). 
  • Use the Vaccine Eligibility Checker if you want to access a participating GP or community health service
  • See here to find out which clinics offer walk-in appointments, and the estimated wait times of all clinics. 

If you or the person that you are booking for has a disability and needs additional support to get a COVID-19 vaccine or is unable to attend a vaccine centre, you can contact a Disability Liaison Officer.

More info 

Western Australia

Eligibility 

  • All people aged 30 and over can now be vaccinated in WA. 

Other eligibilities include:

  • People aged 16 and over with an underlying medical condition (including disabilities and NDIS participants)
  • Carers aged 16 and over of people with an underlying medical condition
  • Health Care, Aged Care, Disability Care workers and volunteers
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People aged 16 and over
  • To assess your eligibility, WA Health has created a table to view here

Booking

  • You can book via the Vaccinate WA site
  • You can also call 13 268 43.
  • You can also get information on where to access the vaccine on the Roll Up for WA website

More info

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the vaccine cost? 

Nothing. The vaccine is free for anyone living in Australia, regardless of citizenship or visa status. You do not need a medicare card, and you don’t need a prescription from a GP to get vaccinated.

What do I need to bring to my vaccination appointment? 

  • You need to bring a valid photo ID. 
  • You may be asked to provide proof of any other occupational or health reasons that qualify your eligibility (such as underlying health condition, carer-status, health care worker status, etc). For information about what kind of evidence you should bring, check the requirements here.
  • If you are eligible because you have an underlying medical condition, a note from a doctor confirming that you are eligible under Phase 1a or 1b is sufficient. You do not need to disclose the details of your underlying medical condition. 
  • If you are eligible because you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, you do not have to provide any proof. 
  • If you do not have any evidence or do not wish to disclose information that makes you eligible to be vaccinated, you may be asked to fill out a Vaccination Eligibility Vaccination Form at your vaccination appointment. However, there is limited awareness of this document on vaccination sites and we don’t have any anecdotal evidence of this being accepted. 

What information do I need to disclose to book and receive my vaccination? 

  • You do not need to disclose any personal information beyond what makes you eligible for vaccination when booking or when you arrive at your vaccination appointment. For example, if you are eligible because you are a carer but also because you have an underlying health condition, you only have to disclose under one of those criteria. 
  • You do not have to disclose your past or present work in sex work. 
  • For more info on disclosing particular identities, see below for accessible resources. 

What if I don’t have Medicare? 

  • If you don’t have a Medicare card, or are Medicare-ineligible, you can still get a COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • The Department of Health has provided more information on this here
  • If you are not eligible for Medicare, or an Individual Health Identifier you will need to book your vaccine at a Commonwealth, state or territory government vaccination clinic

How do I get proof of my vaccination? 

Services Australia provides a short form that tells you how you can get proof of your COVID-19 vaccination. It is anonymous, quick and suitable for everyone, whether you have Medicare or not. The form can also be translated if you need. 

Which vaccine will I receive? 

According to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI):

  • The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is now recommended for people aged 60 years and over.
  • People who have had their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine without any serious adverse events can safely be given a second dose, including adults aged 50-59 years.
  • The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people aged 16 to 59 years.

Recently, the federal government announced that all people aged 18-39 are eligible to receive the Astra-Zeneca vaccine. However, there is conflicting advice from health authorities about the vaccine’s suitability for people under 60 years of age. It is recommended that you discuss this with your GP. 

What do I do if I have a complaint about my experience of vaccination? 

If you are concerned about something that happened during the process of your vaccination, you can make a complaint about it. For example, if you were pressured into disclosing information, discriminated against or denied service, you may want to make a complaint. 

You can complain either directly to the health service provider that provided you with the vaccination (eg. the GP clinic, vaccination centre or hospital) or you can make a complaint with the government health complaints service of your state or territory. 

Contact your relevant health complaints service for more information and advice on how to make a complaint:

You can also contact your local sex worker peer organisation for further support. 

Where can I find accessible information about the vaccine and vaccination process?  

For people who are multilingual, there are resources in a variety of  languages from the following websites:

For people living with HIV:

  • The National Association of People Living with HIV (NAPWHA) have created COVID-19 Vaccination resource page which includes audio / visual information on the vaccine, eligibility and confidentiality. 

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:

For trans and gender diverse people:

  • TransHub has created a COVID-19 Resource page that includes information about the vaccine and gender affirming healthcare. 

For people with disability:

For people who are breastfeeding, pregnant or planning for pregnancy:

For aged care workers, providers and residents:

For people who use drugs:

  • Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) refers people who use drugs to a list of prescribers (clinicians) put together by the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM). These clinicians are trained to provide appropriate care for people living with blood borne viruses. 

Where can I find reliable sources of information about COVID-19 vaccination?