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Unprotected adolescents can spread disease that can be severe in babies such as whooping cough.

Adolescent vaccinations

Once children reach their teenage years, it's easy to overlook their vaccination needs. The National Immunisation Program recommends some vaccinations for adolescents.

Immunity from some childhood vaccines can decrease over time, and a booster dose may be recommended during the adolescent years to maintain immunity. Also, as children move into adolescence and approach adulthood, some people are at greater risk of catching certain diseases.

If your child has not received all recommended vaccinations to date, catch-up doses may also be necessary.

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The recommended vaccinations listed below are based on the National Immunisation Program. For further information please speak to your health care professional.

Recommended vaccinations

For adolescents, the Australian National Immunisation Program (NIP) provides vaccines for the following diseases.

To learn more about a specific disease, click on a disease below.

*These vaccination recommendations apply to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

^Flu vaccination is not funded for all age groups, however, it is recommended that children from the age of 6 months be vaccinated.

Frequently asked questions

Do adolescents need vaccinations?

It's easy to think that by the time your child becomes an adolescent, vaccination may not be needed. Immunity from some childhood vaccines can decrease over time, and a booster dose may be recommended during the adolescent years to maintain immunity. Also, as children move into adolescence and approach adulthood, there are other diseases for which they may be at greater risk.

How often do adolescents need to be immunised?

Adolescents generally require fewer vaccinations than babies and younger children because their immune systems are more developed. Also, they have either received the recommended vaccinations at a younger age or have been naturally infected.

The focus at this age is to get vaccinated against diseases to prepare them for adulthood, and to boost their immunity against certain diseases they were vaccinated against as a child (due to decreased immunity), such as whooping cough.

The number of vaccinations recommended for adolescents will also depend on whether they are up-to-date with the vaccination schedule and whether they fall into certain risk groups. If your child's vaccinations are not current, catch-up doses may also be necessary. Your doctor will advise you of which vaccinations are appropriate for your child.

What are the side-effects of vaccination?

Some side effects may be experienced after vaccination. Most side effects are mild, short-lived and clear within a few days. Common side effects can include a sore arm, fever, and pain and redness at the injection site. Severe side effects are rare. If they do occur you should see your doctor as soon as possible. 

It is worth remembering that vaccines help to protect against diseases that can be very serious and potentially fatal. If you have any concerns about the side-effects of vaccines, please speak to your doctor. 

Is vaccination compulsory?

In Australia vaccination is not compulsory however it is strongly recommended.

Vaccination is an effective way to protect your child from serious diseases. High vaccination rates also help protect those individuals who cannot be vaccinated, mainly due to medical conditions such as a weakened immune system.

Do adolescents need to start the schedule again if they've missed any childhood vaccinations?

If your child has not completed or received any vaccinations recommended for young children and babies, catch-up doses may be necessary. As vaccines are generally for specified age groups, catch-up doses may not be funded. Speak with your doctor if you're unsure about your adolescent child's vaccination status

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL

 

AUS/VAC/0053/15. Date of approval: April 2015.