The aim of immunisation is to prevent people from acquiring vaccine preventable diseases through high vaccination rates in the community through state and national immunisation programs. Before any vaccine can be used in Australia it must be licensed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA uses scientific evidence on each vaccine to assess safety and effectiveness.

Other vaccines may be recommended if you are travelling overseas or work in an occupation where there is a risk of catching a disease.

To receive a vaccine, see the Immunisation services page for a list of organisations that can assist you.

Vaccines for children

The vaccines available on the immunisation schedule in Australia start at birth when all children are offered a hepatitis B immunisation.

Protect your baby: Why your infant needs protection against hepatitis B (PDF 784KB) provides valuable information for parents-to-be on why this immunisation is recommended.

It is important to note that babies under six months of age are at risk of serious complications from whooping cough (pertussis) because they are not fully protected until they have received three primary doses. 

It is important that children receive their vaccinations on time so that they get the maximum protection against diseases. The National Immunisation Program Schedule (PDF 84KB) outlines the recommended immunisations for children and when they are due.

Children eligible for Medicare benefits are eligible under the National Immunisation Program to receive free vaccinations against specific diseases, including hepatitis B.

Vaccines for adolescents and adults

Immunisation is not only important for children, but adolescents and adults too. Even though adolescents and adults may have been vaccinated as children, booster doses may be required to maintain immunity from certain diseases (such as whooping cough) and additional vaccines became available to protect against age-specific disease (such as Human papillomavirus).

Adolescents can receive free vaccines to protect against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, chickenpox and Human papillomavirus (HPV) under the National Immunisation Program. The School Immunisation Program provides parents with the opportunity to have their child vaccinated at no cost through their school.

Immunisations recommended for adults may relate to age, Aboriginal status, occupation, previous injury or illness, vaccination history, plans to travel or plans to start a family.

Some of these vaccines are available free for certain individuals through the National Immunisation Program schedule (PDF 84KB), for example the flu vaccine for pregnant women and the flu and pneumococcal vaccines for individuals 65 years of age and over. If you are not eligible to receive these vaccines for free, you will have to purchase for other vaccines with a prescription from your doctor.

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