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Unprotected adults can spread disease such as whooping cough to babies.

Adult vaccinations

Vaccinations recommended by the National Immunisation Program for adults vary depending on each individual's circumstances such as the place of work, overseas travel or underlying medical conditions.

Vaccines in adulthood may be suggested by your doctor to help protect yourself, but also possibly to help protect susceptible individuals you're in close contact with, such as young children or an older relative.

Discuss your vaccination needs with your doctor to ensure you, and those around you, are vaccinated.

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Some vaccinations may be available for specific individuals through the National Immunisation Program (NIP). There may be specific circumstances where additional vaccinations should be considered for adults. For further information please speak to your healthcare professional.

Recommended vaccinations

Vaccines are available for the following diseases per age-group.

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 adults need vaccinations?

Your doctor will be able to advise if any vaccinations are necessary for you. Some vaccinations are also recommended for individuals in certain risk groups. Some examples include:

  • those with underlying medical risks or chronic illnesses
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • women planning a pregnancy, pregnant women, or those who are becoming a new parent or carer
  • people born overseas
  • adults of certain ages e.g. adults 50 or 65 years of age
  • adults travelling overseas
  • certain lifestyles e.g. participating in contact sport, recreational drugs
  • work environments e.g. working closely with infants and children, healthcare workers

This is not a complete list and you should discuss your risk of vaccine preventable diseases and any vaccination requirements with your doctor.

What are the common 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. 

If I am 50 years old or older and don't have any chronic illnesses, do I still need vaccines?

Age is a risk factor for some diseases such as influenza (flu) and pneumococcal disease so vaccination is recommended if you're over 65 years of age, even if you're otherwise healthy. These vaccinations are funded under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for this age group.

You may also be at risk of other diseases for which you may have been vaccinated against as a child or been exposed to naturally. This is because immunity to some diseases such as tetanus and whooping cough decrease over time. Please speak to your doctor to discuss whether you may need to be vaccinated.

I am going overseas soon, what vaccines will I need?

Vaccinations for some vaccine preventable diseases are not routinely funded on the National Immunisation Program. Instead, they may be recommended for overseas travel, particularly to developing countries. The destination(s) will determine which vaccinations are recommended.

For information on diseases that you may be at risk of contracting during overseas travel, refer to the travel section of this website.

The travel map is only a guide. It is 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 that your doctor can make the best assessment of your needs.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL

 

AUS/VAC/0054/15. Date of approval: April 2015.