Who should be vaccinated?

A toddler receiving a vaccine injection

Vaccinations protect children from harmful diseases.
Image: Dmitry Naumov / Shutterstock.com

Vaccinationis a safe and effective way of protecting yourself and your children against harmful diseases.

Immunisation protects individuals, as well as the whole community, by reducing the spread of the disease.

Children are most often vaccinated, but other groups of people may also need vaccination including:

  • teenagers
  • adults with a weakened immune system who may be at risk of the complications of an infection (e.g. due to HIV infection, certain cancers that affect the immune system, or medicines that might suppress the immune system)
  • people with medical conditions that might increase their risk of complications of an infection (e.g. asthma)
  • people who care for, or live with, people who are at increased risk of infection and the complications of infection
  • pregnant women or women intending to become pregnant (to protect themselves and their unborn baby from infection)
  • people who care for very young babies (e.g. parents, grandparents or carers). Babies younger than 6 months have not received all their vaccinations so it is important to be vaccinated so that infections can't spread to the baby. In particular, it is important to be vaccinated against whooping cough and chicken pox as these diseases can be very serious in young babies
  • older people who are at increased risk of some infections because of their age (e.g. pneumococcal pneumonia, influenza [flu], or shingles [herpes zoster])
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adults who may be at higher risk of some infectious diseases (e.g. pneumococcal infections, flu, hepatitis A and tuberculosis)
  • people travelling to other countries where there are diseases that do not occur in Australia.