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How is diphtheria prevented?

Page last updated 13 January 2022

The most effective way to prevent diphtheria is by vaccination. 

Vaccination against diphtheria is part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP). The diphtheria vaccine is given at 2, 4 and 6 months of age along with tetanus and whooping cough vaccines, with boosters at 18 months, 4 years and 11-13 years of age. 



Because immunity acquired through vaccination against diphtheria wanes over time, older adults may no longer be immune. A diphtheria-containing vaccine booster is recommended for adults aged 50 years and over if their last dose was more than 10 years ago. Talk to your doctor about when a booster for diphtheria should be given.

Diphtheria can be a risk for travellers to some countries. Speak with your healthcare professional if you are planning to travel and they can advise whether you require a booster dose against diphtheria.

In addition to vaccination, the practice of good personal hygiene and isolation of patients will help decrease spread of the bacteria.


To find out more about diphtheria immunisation, speak with your healthcare professional.

Sources & Citations

1. Victorian Government. Better Health Channel. Diphtheria. Available at: (accessed 24 November 2021).

7. The Australian Immunisation Handbook. Diphtheria. Available at: (accessed 24 November 2021).

8. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Australian Government, Department of Health. Available at: (accessed 24 November 2021).

MAT-AU-2102461  Date of preparation January 2022