Vaccination regimes have changed over time, so even if you think you are fully vaccinated, it’s important to visit your healthcare professional to see if you may require any booster vaccinations.
If you grew up in Australia, you should have received the following vaccinations as a child:
- Five doses of a diphtheria-tetanus vaccine that may also have included pertussis (whooping cough), and one booster dose as an adolescent
- Four doses of polio vaccine
- Two doses of a measles vaccine if you were born after 1966. Depending on your age you may also have received a mumps and/or rubella vaccination.
Circumstances where you may want to talk to the healthcare professional about vaccinations:
- when you are planning pregnancy, or become pregnant
- if you are going to be travelling overseas
- at the beginning of each influenza season
- if you incur a tetanus prone wound
- if you were born during or after 1966 and have not had an MMR vaccine (this protects against measles, Mumps and Rubella).
- if you have a chronic medical condition
In the majority of instances these vaccines are not provided free, however if you have an underlying medical condition or are pregnant you may be eligible for some free vaccines.
Special adult groups such as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples, persons at occupational risk, immunocompromised persons and pregnant women, may be able to access specific vaccines under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Please contact your healthcare professional to learn about which vaccines you may be eligible for.
Commonly asked questions
You can get a copy of your Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
You can access this through the myGov website using your Medicare online account (Medicare linked service), or by calling the AIR on 1800 653 809 (note that it may take up to 14 days to be sent in the mail). Anyone over the age of 14 years needs to request their own Immunisation History Statement and they can also set-up their own Medicare linked service.
Please note, your Immunisation History Statement may not have your complete record, as it does not keep record of vaccines provided by school programs. What it will have recorded:
- childhood vaccines given since 1 January 1996
- adult vaccines given since 30 September 2016
It’s up to the vaccination provider to put your vaccines on the AIR. It’s a good idea to remind them to do so.
The Australian government recommends that all eligible Australia’s receive the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine. This is because vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from catching the flu.
As an adult, if you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, you can access the free influenza vaccine. Pregnant women can access the free influenza vaccine at any time during their pregnancy. People with some chronic health conditions, such as asthma or heart disease, may also be eligible for a free influenza vaccine. Speak to your healthcare professional or GP about influenza prevention.
In some circumstances, your private healthcare may cover the cost of the vaccination.
This will however depend on the specifics of your policy with your provider – the type of cover you have (hospital, hospital + extra) and the specifics of your extras cover.
Contact your provider to find out if vaccinations are included as part of your cover.
Vaccinations required or suggested for travel vary depending on the region being visited and activities you have planned.
A consult with your healthcare practitioner or GP for a discussion around the destinations and activities planned will help you understand which vaccinations are required. Giving yourself at least 6 weeks to complete vaccinations before departure is recommended. This is because your body needs a bit of time after receiving vaccinations to build up full immunity. You may also require more than one dose for some vaccinations.
Don’t despair if you’ve left your travel health check-up until the last minute. You should still visit your doctor before you leave – it’s never too late to vaccinate.
If you have recently injured yourself, have experienced a deep or dirty wound and you haven't had a booster shot in the last five years, then a tetanus booster may be suitable for you. Contact your healthcare provider or GP to discuss vaccination options.
As most infants, children, and teenagers should have received initial vaccination against tetanus and boosters as part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP) boosters are only required on a case by case basis.
Adults who have not received a tetanus booster within the last 10 years, should be given a booster at 50 years of age.
If you are unsure if you require a booster vaccination, speak with your healthcare provider or GP to discuss your vaccination requirements.
Sources & Citations
- Australian Government. Department of Health. Immunisation for adults. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/immunisation-for-adults (accessed 20 May 2020).
- Australian Government. Department of Health. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/national-immunisation-program-schedule-portrait (accessed 20 May 2020).
- National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance. Immunisation recommendations for adults in Australia. Available at: http://www.ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2018-12/adult-vaccination-fact-sheet.pdf (accessed 20 May 2020).
- Australian Government. Department of Health. Measles Immunisation Service. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-services/measles-immunisation-service-0 (accessed 16 June 2020).
- Australian Government. Department of Health. Mumps Immunisation Service. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-services/mumps-immunisation-service-0 (accessed 16 June 2020).
- Australian Government. Department of Health. Rubella Immunisation Service. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-services/rubella-immunisation-service-0 (accessed 16 June 2020).
- Australian Government. Department of Human Services. How to get an immunisation history statement. Available at: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/australian-immunisation-register/how-get-immunisation-history-statement (accessed 20 May 2020).
- Victorian Government. Better Health. How to find your vaccination records. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/How-to-find-your-vaccination-records (accessed 20 May 2020).
- Australian Government. Department of Health. Immunisation for travel. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/immunisation-for-travel (accessed 20 May 2020).
MAT-AU-2000005- Date of preparation June 2020Show All