A smiling and happy baby looking to the camera in the arms of its mother.

Select a category below to browse relevant vaccine information and FAQs

Babies and toddlers

In the first years of life, a baby’s immune system is not fully developed. Learn more about how you can help protect your child from specific diseases during this early stage of growth.

  • Diseases

    Please select a disease to learn more or speak to a healthcare professional for more information.

    Hepatitis B

    This disease of the liver is transmitted through blood or other bodily fluids.

     Learn more

    Diphtheria

    While now extremely rare in Australia, diphtheria continues to cause illness overseas.

     Learn more

    Measles

    Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that causes a rash and fever.

     Learn more

    Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

    Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) causes a bacterial infection that can lead to serious illness, especially in young children.

     Learn more

    Pneumococcal disease

    A bacterial infection that usually affects the very young and the elderly. Others can be at risk of complications, too.

     Learn more

    Polio

    Polio is rare in Australia but is a serious disease that is caused by infection with poliovirus.

     Learn more

    Rotavirus

    In infants and young children, rotavirus disease is the most common cause of severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

     Learn more

    Tetanus

    Caused by bacteria commonly found in soil and manure, which enter the body through wounds or breaks in the skin.

     Learn more

    Meningococcal disease

    Initial symptoms of meningococcal disease can be difficult to recognise, and can easily be mistaken for a common cold or virus.

     Learn more

    Mumps

    This viral infection causes swelling of the salivary glands and fever.

     Learn more

    Hepatitis A

    This disease of the liver is caused by the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms may last for several weeks, but most people fully recover.

     Learn more

    Seasonal Influenza (flu)

    This highly contagious viral infection can affect anyone and is more common in winter.

     Learn more

    Rubella

    Also called German measles, rubella is generally a mild infection. Yet it can have serious, lifelong consequences for unborn babies or can lead to miscarriage.

     Learn more

    Chickenpox (varicella)

    With its typical red blistering and itchy rash, chickenpox is a highly contagious but generally mild infection.

     Learn more

    Whooping cough (pertussis)

    This bacterial infection is highly contagious and affects people of all ages. It can cause serious disease in babies and complications in older adults.

     Learn more

The Australian National Immunisation Program (NIP) outlines a series of government funded immunisations given at specific times throughout a child's life. In addition, vaccines for other diseases that are not funded may be recommended for specific life stages in the Australian Immunisation Handbook (a resource developed by a government body to provide advice to healthcare professionals).1,2

  •  Immunisation funded via the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for everyone
  •  Immunisation recommended in the Australian Immunisation Handbook but is not funded
  •  Immunisation funded via the NIP for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and/or medically at-risk children only
  •  Immunisation recommended in the Australian Immunisation Handbook for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and/or medically at-risk children only but is not funded

Please speak with a healthcare professional for more information in relation to any of the diseases below and what conditions are considered under "medically at risk" 

Many of the individual diseases listed in the schedule below are available in combined immunisations to reduce the number of injections.  Download PDF

Diseases Birth 2 months 4 months 6 months 12 months 18 months 4 years 10 to <15 years 15-19 years
Chickenpox (varicella)                  
A second dose of varicella vaccine is recommended any time between 4 years of age and less than 14 years, at least 4 weeks after the first dose. Speak to your doctor to learn more.
Diphtheria                  
 
Hepatitis A                  
Two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine are recommended and NIP-funded for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at 12 months and 18 months living in certain areas. A two-dose schedule (which is not funded) is also recommended for some medically at-risk children and adolescents. Speak to your doctor to learn more.
Hepatitis B                  
An additional booster vaccine is recommended at 12 months of age for preterm infants who were born at less than 32 weeks gestation or whose birth weight was under 2000 grams. Speak to your doctor to learn more.
Haemophilus influenzae
type b
                 
 
Human Papillomavirus                  
 
Measles                  
 
Meningococcal ACWY disease                  
The meningococcal ACWY vaccine is strongly recommended (but not funded) for children less than 2 years of age, adolescents (15 - 19 years), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (2 months - 19 years), and those aged at or above 2 months with certain medical conditions. A free dose is given at 12 months of age. For anyone wishing to reduce their risk of meningococcal disease the vaccine is recommended if their doctor deems it appropriate. Speak to your doctor to learn more or see who is most at risk of meningococcal disease here.
Meningococcal B disease                  
The meningococcal B vaccine is strongly recommended (but not funded) for children less than 2 years of age, adolescents (15 - 19 years), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (2 months - 19 years), and those aged at or above 2 months with certain medical conditions. For anyone wishing to reduce their risk of meningococcal disease the vaccine is recommended if their doctor deems it appropriate. Speak to your doctor to learn more or see who is most at risk of meningococcal disease here.
Mumps                  
 
Pneumococcal disease                  
An additional dose of pneumococcal vaccine is recommended and NIP-funded at 6 months of age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Two additional doses (at 6 months and 4 years) are recommended and NIP-funded for medically-at risk children. Further doses may be recommended and funded during adolescence depending on risk – speak to your doctor to learn more.
Polio                  
 
Rotavirus                  
 
Rubella                  
 
Tetanus                  
 
Whooping cough (pertussis)                  
 
Seasonal influenza                  
The influenza vaccine is recommended annually for all people aged 6 months and over. Influenza vaccine is funded under the NIP for those at or above 6 months of age with certain medical conditions and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months to under 5 years and those aged at or above 15 years. Learn more about who should receive flu vaccination.
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Reference: 

  1. Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). Australian Immunisation Handbook, Australian Government Department of Health, Canberra, 2018, immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au. 
  2. 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
  • What are the common side effects of immunisations?

    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
    • fever
    • 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.

    Remember, vaccines help to protect against potentially serious and fatal diseases. If you have any concerns about the side effects of vaccines, please speak to a healthcare professional.

  • Is immunisation compulsory?

    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.

  • What is the National Immunisation Program (NIP)?

    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.

  • How do vaccines work?

    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.

  • Why immunise for less common or old 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.

  • Why do babies need to be immunised?

    A baby’s immune system is not fully developed, making them more vulnerable to some diseases.

    Vaccines help to protect babies by preparing their immune system to be ready to attack and fight off specific infections.

  • Can too many immunisations overwhelm a baby’s immune system?

    From birth onwards, babies are naturally exposed to thousands of bacteria, viruses and antigens (which are substances that stimulate an immune response). They build up their exposure through things like playing, drinking and eating.

    Compared to this everyday exposure, immunisations contain a small amount of antigen. So rather than overwhelming the baby’s immune system, immunisations actually help strengthen it for specific diseases.

  • Do breastfed babies obtain immunity from breast milk?

    The antibodies in breast milk help fight off infection and provide some protection for your baby. However, they are short-lived and are not enough to help protect against all infections.

    Please discuss your Individual situation and any specific concerns with a healthcare professional.

  • Can I delay immunisations until my child is older?

    Immunising your child at the ages recommended by the National Immunisation Program can help protect them from serious childhood infections.

    Delaying an immunisation increases the amount of time your child does not have the immune response provided by a vaccine and therefore may be at higher risk of catching a disease if it was in the community. For some diseases, multiple doses of the vaccine are required before your child is adequately protected. Until all the doses are given, your child may still be at a higher risk of catching the disease.

    Please discuss your Individual situation and any specific concerns with a healthcare professional.

  • Why do children need booster doses of some vaccines?

    It's important for your child to receive all the recommended doses. With some diseases, the level of protection provided by an immunisation can decrease over time. Booster doses are recommended to help maintain immunity.

    Please discuss your Individual situation and any specific concerns with a healthcare professional.

  • Can my child still get a disease despite being immunised for it?

    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.

  • Are there any reasons for delaying immunisations?

    A scheduled immunisation may be delayed if your child:

    • has a high temperature (over 38.5ºC)
    • has a weakened immune system (e.g. receiving chemotherapy)
    • has another medical condition that needs to be considered.

    Speak to a healthcare professional about your child's circumstances before postponing immunisation.

  • I’m going overseas soon. Do I need to see my doctor?

    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-190006 Date of GSK Approval: January 2021