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Page last updated on 09 November 2018

Vaccination is safe and the most effective way to lower your chances of becoming seriously ill or hospitalised from vaccine-preventable diseases. 

By keeping up-to-date with your vaccinations, you’re also helping out the community by protecting the more vulnerable people from becoming infected.

Although there are no vaccinations listed under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for adults aged 50 - 64, depending on your circumstances, vaccination against some diseases may be suitable for you.

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 free government-funded vaccines under the NIP. Please contact your healthcare professional to learn about which vaccines you may be eligible for.

Commonly asked questions

How do I get a copy of my immunisation record?

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.
 

Do I need the whooping cough vaccine to see my grandchild?

Did you know that babies who get whooping cough usually get it from a family member?

Young babies are at risk of whooping cough because they are too young to have their vaccinations, and whooping cough is most severe in very young infants.
Those spending time with newborns can help protect them from whooping cough by making sure their vaccinations are up to date. Immunity to whooping cough wanes over time so boosters for adults are recommended. Talk to your healthcare professional for more information.

How often do I need a tetanus booster?

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 professional 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 another booster at 50 years of age. People who received their first tetanus vaccination as adults, should receive a booster every 10 years after that. 

How often do I need to get a flu shot?

Influenza vaccination needs to be given every year. This is because the flu is always changing, so the vaccine changes too. In addition, the immunity provided by the vaccine wanes over time. 

In Australia, the flu vaccine generally becomes available in April each year, in advance of the peak flu season of June through to September.

Is it important to get a flu shot?

Yes. 

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from catching the flu (influenza). If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, you can access flu vaccine for free from 6 months to 4 years of age, and for those over 15 years of age under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

Pregnant women can access the free flu 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 flu vaccine. Speak with your healthcare professional if you’re unsure about whether you’re eligible for any free vaccinations under the NIP. Note that a consultation fee may still apply.

Can you still get the flu after getting the flu shot?

Yes, however the severity of the symptoms will be less than if you had not received the vaccine. In healthy people, the vaccine provides a good level of coverage against the flu, which usually starts 2 weeks after vaccination. 

In those who do contract the disease regardless of vaccination, the symptoms tend to be less severe and people are less at risk of developing more serious complications, which may lead to hospitalisations or even death.  

Do I need vaccines for travel?

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.

VaccineHub offers general information only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice

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Sources & Citations

  1. Centers for Disease Control. For Parents: Vaccines for Your Children. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html (accessed 19 April 2018).
  2. Australian Government. Department of Health. The top facts about immunisation. Available at https://campaigns.health.gov.au/immunisationfacts/top-facts-about-immunisation (accessed 19 April 2018).
  3. Australian Government. Department of Health. Why get immunised? Available at https://campaigns.health.gov.au/immunisationfacts/why-get-immunised (accessed 19 April 2018).
  4. Australian Government. Department of Health. How do I immunise my child? Available at https://campaigns.health.gov.au/immunisationfacts/how-do-i-immunise-my-child (accessed 19 April 2018).
  5. Australian Government. Department of Health. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Available at https://beta.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule (accessed 19 April 2018).
  6. Australian Government. Department of Human Services. Immunisation History Statement. Available at https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/immunisation-history-statement (accessed 20th April 2018).
  7. Australian Government, Department of Human Services, Getting you Immunisation History Statement. Available at https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/online-help/medicare/getting-your-immunisation-history-statement-using-your-medicare-online-account (accessed 20th April 2018).
  8. Australian Department of Human Services. Australian Immunisation Record. Available at https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/about-air (accessed 12 June 2018)
  9. NSW Government. Department of Health. Whooping cough (Pertussis) fact sheet. Available at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/pertussis.aspx (accessed 28th April 2018).
  10. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition. Chapter 4.12 Pertussis. Available at http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part4~handbook10-4-12 (accessed 28th April 2018).
  11. CDC. Grandparents Can Help Protect Against Whooping Cough with Tdap Vaccine. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/downloads/matte-grandparents.pdf (accessed 25 June 2018).
  12. NSW Government. Department of Health. Tetanus fact sheet. Available at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/tetanus.aspx (accessed 28th April 2018).
  13. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition. Chapter 4.19 Tetanus. Available at http://immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part4~handbook10-4-19 (accessed 28th April 2018).
  14. Australian Government, Department of Health, The flu vaccine – Information for consumers in 2018 fact sheet. Available at https://beta.health.gov.au/resources/publications/the-flu-vaccine-information-for-consumers-in-2018-fact-sheet (accessed 28th April 2018).
  15. South Australian Government. SA Health, Flu vaccine frequently asked questions. Available at http://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+conditions+prevention+and+treatment/immunisation/vaccines/flu+vaccine/flu+vaccine+frequently+asked+questions#Top (accessed 28th April 2018).
  16. Centers for Disease Control. Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm (accessed 28th April 2018).
  17. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition. Chapter 3.2 Vaccination for International Travel. Available at http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part3~handbook10-3-2 (accessed 25th June 2018).

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.05.0199  - Date of preparation May 2018

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