With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout dragging on at a snail’s pace, it’s clear many of us young’uns (read: Aussies under 40) are absolutely craving that jab. A cursory glance of the eligibility requirements would have you think that we still have to wait for months, but that’s not entirely the case.

While older people and frontline health workers are still the priority at the moment, there are still a handful of reasons that young people can use to get vaccinated, too.

First up, if you’re in the Northern Territory, you’re in luck. Premier Michael Gunner has just announced that everyone aged 16 and up in the NT will be eligible for the vaccine from June 8. Everyone outside of Darwin was already eligible to get the jab, but now this eligibility is being extended to the Territory’s capital city, too.

As for the rest of Australia, those of us aged 16 and over with underlying medical conditions are currently eligible to get vaccinated. Some of these conditions are actually more common than you’d think, too.

These conditions include:

  • People with a BMI over 40
  • People with diabetes
  • Survivors of childhood cancer
  • People with certain chronic inflammatory conditions such as endometriosis of Crohn’s disease
  • People what the government describes as “severe mental health conditions” such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

Obviously this brief list isn’t comprehensive. You can find more examples of qualifying medical conditions at the federal government’s website. Even then, it’s still worth checking with your doctor to see if any other underlying health conditions make you eligible to get vaccinated sooner rather than later.

From June 8, eligibility will be expanded to three more groups of people:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 and up
  • NDIS participants aged 16 and up
  • All NDIS carers

Meanwhile, although we all know healthcare and aged care workers are eligible to get that jab (and many have already!) there are also a few other groups of workers and volunteers who fall under the federal government’s category of “critical and high risk workers”.

These positions include:

  • Rural Fire Service volunteers
  • SES volunteers
  • Abattoir workers
  • NSW Surf Lifesavers
  • Victorian taxi, rideshare and public transport drivers

Everyone knows border and hotel quarantine workers are obvious candidates to get vaccinated, but it turns out their household contacts (in other words, housemates or family members) are also eligible to get that jab.

If you call under any of these categories and haven’t received an email, try contacting your workplace or volunteer organisation directly to find out how you might be eligible for the jab.

Then, of course, there are those under 40 who managed to get the jab without meeting the publicly specified criteria.

In NSW and the ACT, for example, rogue text messages with the COVID-19 vaccine registration links have allowed young Aussies to get vaccinated without having to lie about their situations.

These people technically didn’t break any eligibility rules, but we’re also not supposed to be sharing around these registration links in random text messages. It’s all a bit of a mess, really.

You can find out more about COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and see where to get the jab here.

Image: Getty Images / Mark Kolbe