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Select a category below to browse relevant vaccine information and FAQs

All adults

The immunisations recommended for adults can vary depending on where you work, if you're travelling overseas or if you have an underlying medical condition. Sometimes, immunisations are also recommended to help protect those around you, such as young children or an older relative.

  • It is recommended that all adults are up to date with their immunisations. The following immunisations may be recommended for you. Please select the disease or speak to your doctor to learn more.

    Chickenpox (varicella)

    With its typical red blistering and itchy rash, chickenpox is a highly contagious but generally mild infection, which can cause serious complications in some people.

     Learn more

    Diphtheria

    While now extremely rare in Australia thanks to immunisation, diphtheria continues to cause illness overseas. It can cause life-threatening complications.

     Learn more

    Influenza (flu)

    This highly contagious viral infection can affect anyone and can lead to serious illness. A flu vaccine is recommended every year.

     Learn more

    Measles

    Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that causes a rash and fever. It can lead to serious, sometimes fatal, complications.

     Learn more

    Meningococcal ACWY disease

    This rare infection can progress rapidly, causing serious long-term disability or death within 24 hours. Immunisation can help protect against common strains.

     Learn more

    Meningococcal B disease

    This rare infection can progress rapidly, causing serious long-term disability or death within 24 hours. Immunisation can help protect against common strains.

     Learn more

    Mumps

    This viral infection causes swelling of the salivary glands and fever. While rare in Australia, immunisation is recommended to help prevent cases from occuring.

     Learn more

    Rubella

    Also called German measles, rubella is generally a mild infection. Yet it can have serious, lifelong consequences for unborn babies or can lead to miscarriage.

     Learn more

    Shingles (herpes zoster)

    Shingles (herpes zoster) is a disease that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox . Immunisation helps to protect you against developing this painful disease.

     Learn more

    Tetanus

    Caused by bacteria commonly found in soil and manure, tetanus is a very serious disease. Immunisation is recommended to help protect against tetanus.

     Learn more

    Whooping cough (pertussis)

    More contagious than the flu, whooping cough affects people of all ages. It can cause serious disease in babies and complications in older adults.

     Learn more

The Australian National Immunisation Program (NIP) outlines a series of free immunisations given at specific times throughout your life. In addition to these vaccines, there are a number of other vaccines that are recommended by experts but need to be paid for out of pocket. Some vaccines are also provided for free through your State or Territory Health Department.

Click on the diseases below and speak to your doctor to learn more about the immunisation schedule and recommendations.

  •  Immunisation funded via the National Immunisation Program (NIP)
  •  Immunisations may be recommended by experts but is not funded

Diseases All adults Planning for a baby Pregnancy 65 and over 70 to 79 years Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander adults
Chickenpox (varicella)            
 
Diphtheria            
 
Hepatitis B            
 
Measles            
 
Meningococcal ACWY disease            
 
Meningococcal B disease            
 
Mumps            
 
Pneumococcal disease+            
Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended and funded for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at 50 years of age, with a second dose recommended five years later. All non-Indigenous people can receive a free vaccine at 65 years of age. Women planning pregnancy who have risk factors for pneumococcal disease, including smokers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, should be assessed for pneumococcal vaccination.
Rubella            
 
Shingles (Herpes zoster)+            
The herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine is funded for adults aged 70 years, with a short-term catch-up program for adults aged 71-79. It is also recommended (but not funded) for all adults over 60 years of age.
Tetanus            
 
Whooping cough (pertussis)            
 
Annual flu+            
The influenza vaccine is recommended annually for all adults, and is funded for pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy), people aged 65 and over, people with certain medical conditions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
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Immunisations for refugees and new arrivals

For those new to Australia, there is a catch-up program to provide immunisation against some diseases, however it will depend on your circumstances. Please speak to your doctor to learn more.

Immunisations for those at increased risk

For people with certain medical conditions, occupations or behaviours, it’s recommended that you are immunised against some additional diseases, including (but not limited to) flu, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, human papillomavirus (HPV), meningococcal disease and pneumococcal disease. You may be eligible for free vaccination. Please speak to your doctor to learn more.

  • You may experience some side effects after immunisation. Most are mild, short-lived and clear within a few days.

    Common side effects can include:

    • a sore arm
    • fever
    • pain and redness at the injection site.

    Severe side effects like an allergic reaction are rare. If you think you are experiencing a severe reaction, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

    Remember, vaccines help to protect against potentially serious and fatal diseases. If you have any concerns about the side effects of vaccines, please speak to your doctor.

     

  • In Australia, immunisation is not compulsory but not having your child fully vaccinated may affect Government benefits or enrolment in childcare or kindergarten. Immunisation is strongly recommended for two reasons:

    • it helps protect your child or yourself from potentially serious diseases
    • high rates of immunisation also help protect those who cannot be immunised (for example, those with a weakened immune system).

    Speak to your doctor for more information.

  • The NIP is a schedule of vaccines that are provided for free by the Australian government, to help protect against 17 different diseases.

    Many of the vaccines are given in early childhood and others through to adulthood. It’s recommended that you stick as closely as possible to the NIP schedule to get the most benefit from the program.

  • Vaccines generally contain dead, severely weakened forms or specific parts of the germ that causes disease. They are designed to teach your immune system to fight any future infections.

    When the vaccine enters your body – either via a needle or oral dose – your immune system gets to work and produces antibodies that are able lock onto and destroy the germ. Your immune system is then able to remember the germ and produce those antibodies to destroy it if you get infected again.

    In short, vaccines strengthen and train your immune system to help protect you against harmful diseases.

  • Vaccines are given for potentially serious and fatal diseases that were common in Australia before immunisation was available. The germs that cause these diseases are still around – yet, thanks to high rates of immunisation in the community, most of these diseases are fortunately very rare. Continuing immunisation is important to keep it that way.

    Don’t forget, in some countries, these vaccine-preventable diseases are still common and can be brought into Australia by travellers.

  • Infectious diseases can affect anyone. It’s often recommended that adults get immunised. Generally, it’s when you fall into one of these categories:

    • Those with underlying medical risks or chronic illnesses
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
    • Women planning a pregnancy, pregnant women, or those who are becoming a new parent or carer
    • People born overseas
    • Certain age groups e.g. adults aged 65 years of age and over
    • Overseas travellers
    • Certain lifestyles e.g. men who have sex with men, those who take recreational drugs
    • Work environments e.g. working closely with infants and children, healthcare workers.

    This is not a complete list. Your doctor can talk to you about your risk of vaccine-preventable diseases and will be able to advise if you should be immunised.

  • Like all medicines, vaccines are not 100% effective. Therefore, there may still be a chance that an immunised person can get the disease - although usually with less severe symptoms than if they’d had no immunisation.

    Don’t forget, the chances of exposure to a disease are reduced in communities where most people are immunised.

  • Immunisations for some vaccine-preventable diseases are not routinely funded on the National Immunisation Program (that is, they are not available for free). Yet they may still be recommended for overseas travel, particularly to developing countries.

    The immunisations you may need depend on where you’re going. To learn about diseases common in particular countries, you can browse our travel section. Please note that this is a guide only.

    Remember, our travel map is only a guide. It’s important to speak to your doctor or visit a travel clinic at least 6 to 8 weeks before you travel. Take along your full itinerary – including areas that might be 'off the beaten track' – so your doctor can best assess your needs.

AUS/VAC/0109/18, AUS/VAC/0056/18 Date of Approval November 2018