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Page last updated on 14 June 2022

Vaccination is a simple and 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 the community by protecting the more vulnerable people from becoming infected.

Although there are no vaccinations listed under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for non-indigenous 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 records of childhood or adult vaccines before a certain date.

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 often 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 5 years, then you should receive a booster vaccine against tetanus. 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 aged 50 years and above who have not received a tetanus booster within the last 10 years, should be given another booster. 

How often do I need to get an influenza shot?

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

In Australia, the influenza 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 the influenza shot?

Yes. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from catching the influenza. If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, you can access influenza vaccine for free from 6 months of age, under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Adults aged 65 years and over are also eligible to receive a free influenza vaccine every year.

Pregnant women can access the free influenza and pertussis (whooping cough) 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 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 influenza after getting the influenza 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 influenza, which usually starts 2 weeks after vaccination. 

In those who do contract influenza even after having the 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. Australian Government. Department of Health. Why get immunised? Available at: https://campaigns.health.gov.au/immunisationfacts/why-get-immunised (accessed 27 May 2022).
  2. Australian Government. Department of Health. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/national-immunisation-program-schedule-portrait (accessed 27 May 2022).
  3. 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 27 May 2022).
  4. 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 27 May 2022).
  5. 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 27 May 2022).
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines for Family and Caregivers. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/family-caregivers.html (accessed 27 May 2022).
  7. Australian Government. Department of Health. Immunisation for adults (20 to 64 years). Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/immunisation-for-adults-20-64-years (accessed 27 May 2022).
  8. Victorian Government. Better Health. Flu (influenza) – immunisation. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/flu-influenza-immunisation (accessed 27 May 2022).
  9. Centers for Disease Control. Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/misconceptions.htm (accessed 27 May 2022).
  10. 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 27 May 2022).

MAT-AU-2201300  Date of preparation June 2022

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