Select a category below to browse relevant vaccine information and FAQs
50 years and over
As you get older, your immune system weakens, making it harder to fight off infections, which may result in serious complications if you were to become ill. Learn more about how to help protect yourself against certain diseases.
The Australian National Immunisation Program (NIP) outlines a series of government funded immunisations given at specific times throughout your life. In addition, vaccines for other diseases that are not funded may be recommended in the Australian Immunisation Handbook (a resource developed by a government body to provide advice to healthcare professionals).1,2
Click on the diseases below and speak to a healthcare professional to learn more.
- Immunisation funded via the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for certain individuals
- Immunisations may be recommended in the Australian Immunisation Handbook but is not funded
All Adults: There may be a number of circumstances throughout adulthood that may put you be at an increased risk of certain diseases (e.g lifestyle/occupational risks, medical conditions) it is important to speak to a healthcare professional regarding your individual circumstances
|Diseases||Planning for a baby||Pregnancy||50 and over||70 to 79 years||Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander adults|
|Meningococcal ACWY disease|
|Meningococcal B disease|
|Shingles (Herpes zoster)|
|Whooping cough (pertussis)|
- Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). Australian Immunisation Handbook, Australian Government Department of Health, Canberra, 2018, immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au.
- Australian Governement Department of Health. National immunisation program schedule. available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule
You may experience some side effects after immunisation. Most are mild, short-lived and clear within a few days.
Common side effects can include:
- a sore arm
- pain and redness at the injection site.
Severe side effects like an allergic reaction are rare. If you think you are experiencing a severe reaction, you should see a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
If you have any concerns about the side effects of vaccines, please speak to a healthcare professional.
In Australia, immunisation is not compulsory but not having your child fully vaccinated may affect Government benefits or enrolment in childcare or kindergarten.
Immunisations can help by:
- helping to protect your child or yourself from infectious diseases
- helping to protect those who cannot be immunised (for example those with a weakened immune system)
Speak to a healthcare professional for more information.
The NIP is a schedule of vaccines that are provided for free by the Australian Government, to help protect against a range of different diseases.
Many of the vaccines are given in early childhood and others through to adulthood.
Vaccines generally contain dead, severely weakened forms or specific parts of the germ that causes disease. They are designed to teach your immune system to fight any future infections.
When the vaccine enters your body – either via a needle or oral dose – your immune system gets to work and produces antibodies that are able lock onto and destroy the germ. Your immune system is then able to remember the germ and produce those antibodies to destroy it if you are exposed to the disease later in your life.
In short, vaccines strengthen and train your immune system to help protect you against harmful diseases.
Vaccines are given for potentially serious and fatal diseases that were common in Australia before immunisation was available. The germs that cause these diseases are still around – yet, thanks to high rates of immunisation in the community, most of these diseases are fortunately very rare.
Don’t forget, in some countries, vaccine-preventable diseases are still common and can be brought into Australia by travellers.
Infectious diseases can affect anyone. Generally, it’s when you fall into one of these categories:
- Those with underlying medical risks or chronic illnesses
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- Women planning a pregnancy, pregnant women, or those who are becoming a new parent or carer
- People born overseas
- Certain age groups e.g. adults aged 65 years and over
- Overseas travellers
- Certain lifestyles e.g. men who have sex with men, those who take recreational drugs
- Work environments e.g. working closely with infants and children, healthcare workers.
This is not a complete list. Please discuss your individual situation and any specific concerns with a healthcare professional.
Like all medicines, vaccines are not 100% effective. Therefore, there may still be a chance that an immunised person can get the disease - although usually with less severe symptoms than if they’d had no immunisation.
Don’t forget, the chances of exposure to a disease are reduced in communities where most people are immunised as is the case in most of Australia.
As we get older, our immune system becomes less effective and can become more vulnerable to certain diseases such as influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease, pertussis and shingles, even if you're otherwise healthy.
Please discuss your individual situation and any specific concerns with a healthcare professional.
The more prepared you are, the safer and more enjoyable your overseas trip will be.
Some parts of the world are more prone to certain diseases than others but many of these diseases and infections could be prevented.
It is important to plan ahead and see a healthcare professional at least 6 to 8 weeks before you travel to discuss prevention options and travel health. Take along your full itinerary so a healthcare professional can best assess your needs.
PM-AU-AVX-WCNT-190012 Date of GSK Approval: January 2021