Select a category below to browse relevant vaccine information and FAQs
65 years and over
As you get older, your immune system weakens, making it harder to fight off infections, which can result in serious complications if you were to become ill. Immunisations are recommended to help protect against certain diseases and keep you healthy.
If you’re 65 or over, vaccines are available to help protect you against certain diseases. Speak to your doctor about which immunisations you may need.
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|
|Meningococcal ACWY disease|
|Meningococcal B 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.|
|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.|
|Whooping cough (pertussis)|
|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.|
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
- 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.
As we get older, our immune system becomes less effective and can become more vulnerable to certain diseases such as influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease and shingles. Immunisation against certain diseases is recommended if you're over 65 years of age, even if you're otherwise healthy.
To find out more about which immunisations are recommended for adults aged 65 and over please see our 65 years and over section.
With some other diseases (like tetanus and whooping cough), your immunity can decrease over time. Speak to your doctor about whether you may need a booster immunisation for such diseases.
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/0107/18, AUS/VAC/0056/18 Date of Approval November 2018