COVID-19 information

This page provides international students with COVID-19 related information, including details on how to access COVID-19 vaccines in Australia, information on booster vaccines, and advice on what to do if you test positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 welfare support

More and more organisations have made significant commitments to supporting students through hardship funds and welfare support. If you’re struggling to meet your living expenses, here’s how you can access welfare support.

How are institutions supporting international students?

  • All international students are encouraged to stay in touch with their education providers about the range of support which is available to them at this time.
  • Many universities and other education providers are offering a range of support to students including fee deferrals, deferred studies or payments, food and accommodation support and mental health and other medical support.

How is the Australian Government providing financial assistance?

International students who are studying and working in Australia may be able to access financial assistance when they are:

  • required to self-isolate or are caring for someone with COVID-19 (Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment) or;
  • adversely affected by a state public health order and are required to be in lockdown for more than seven days (COVID-19 Disaster Payment).

For more information on the financial support payments, including eligibility criteria, see Centrelink payments and services.

  • Extended working arrangements for international students

If you an international student employed by a health, disability or aged care organisation, the Australian Government has announced special working arrangements. Visit the Department of Home Affairs website for more information.

Consular support

You should also contact your Embassy or local Consular Office  to see if help is available there.

Accessing vaccines in Australia

COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia regardless of Medicare* or visa status. This includes international students currently in Australia. 

  • The Pfizer vaccine uses mRNA technology. Pfizer is now available for those 12 years and older, across Australia, through doctors/GP medical practices or Australia’s state and territory government-run mass vaccination clinics.
  • The Moderna vaccine, which also uses mRNA technology like Pfizer, is now approved for those who are 12 years and older. It is generally offered at doctors and pharmacies across Australia.
  • The Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine is available for those from 18 years of age and above and is produced in Australia. There is an extremely rare side effect of blood clots associated with this vaccine but it is still considered safe if you’re in a high-risk COVID-19 environment. AstraZeneca is not available to those under 18 years of age.

Vaccination providers cannot charge you for the COVID-19 vaccine or your appointments to receive the vaccine. If your vaccination provider charges for any costs associated with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination (including booking fees), you should report it.

Depending on your location, you will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from a range of providers, including your local general medical practice or doctor (GP), a state, territory or federal government vaccination clinic, or a community pharmacy. Please use the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker link below. 

Please note: 

  • If you are eligible to receive a vaccine from a general medical practice in your location, you cannot be charged for this service.
  • However, if you make an appointment to consult your doctor (GP) about any medical issues that are not related to COVID-19 vaccination, you will still need to pay for your appointment. 

COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone aged 12+

All people in Australia aged 12 to 59 are now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. You can use the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker link below to find out which vaccines are available to you in your location and your nearest vaccination provider.

*Please note: The first question on the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker will ask you if you have a Medicare card. If you do not have a Medicare card, please click no and follow the next steps for booking a vaccination without a Medicare card. You ARE eligible for a vaccination, even if you do not have a Medicare card. 

COVID-19 vaccine information in your language

The Australian Department of Health has published information in 63 languages about COVID-19 vaccines and getting vaccinated.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker is available in multiple languages: English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Turkish, Korean, Serbian, Bengali, Punjabi, Hindi, Khmer and Assyrian Neo-Aramaic.

If you don’t have a Medicare card

You can get a COVID-19 vaccination for free, even if you don’t have a Medicare card or are not eligible for Medicare, at:

  • a Commonwealth Vaccination Clinic
  • state or territory vaccination clinic
  • community pharmacies that are administering COVID-19 vaccines.

You can find and book an appointment at these clinics through the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker.

Still have questions?

If you’re unsure of which vaccine is suitable for you, you should seek medical advice from your doctor or a medical professional.

Once you’ve figured out the vaccine for you, the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker will help you find a location for you to book in, to get your vaccination.

Remember, when inside the Vaccine Eligibility Checker, click ‘no’ if you don’t have a Medicare number BUT then continue to follow the instructions to find a location to get your vaccination. 

Proving that you’re vaccinated (with an Australian-administered COVID-19 vaccine)

If you’ve received both vaccinations, you can prove this through online or hard copy certification.

COVID-19 vaccine boosters

Booster shots of Moderna or Pfizer are available to everyone within Australia, including international students who are based in Australia now – whether they have been vaccinated by Australian authorities since the start of the pandemic, or whether they have arrived since then.

From 4 January 2022, you are eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose if:

  • you are 18 years and older, and
  • have had your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination at least three months ago (times may vary depending on the requirements of the state or territory you live in).

Booster doses are not mandatory, however they are highly recommended to maintain the highest immunity as possible against variants of COVID-19.

It’s important to note that vaccines may not guarantee complete protection against COVID-19, but if you do catch Omicron or Delta and you are vaccinated, latest medical research suggests that symptoms you experience tend to be less severe, and you are less likely to need medical attention in hospital.

Tested positive for COVID-19? What you need to do now

Have you tested positive to COVID-19 or are you a close contact of someone who has? Do you know what you need to do so you can continue to keep yourself as healthy and safe as possible? 

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has released this guide to help you manage the virus if you have it.

If you have COVID-19 or are a close contact | Australian Government Department of Health

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