Vaccines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
If you are a from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community living in certain areas of Australia, you are at greater risk of some infectious diseases (including tuberculosis [TB], flu, and pneumonia), and so you need extra protection against these infections.
So in addition to the vaccines recommended for all children, adults, and older people living in Australia, there are some extra vaccines that are recommended for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Children living in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities should receive all the routine childhood vaccines, as well as the additional vaccines listed below.
Tuberculosis (TB) or Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine
Children living in the Northern Territory and far north Queensland are at higher risk of tuberculosis (TB) infection compared with children living elsewhere. TB is a serious bacterial infection, which can often be fatal if it is not treated.
Hepatitis A vaccine
Hepatitis A (a viral infection that affects the liver) is more common in children living in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia, compared with children living elsewhere.
Free hepatitis A vaccines are available for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children younger than 5 years old who live in these areas.
Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine are given when your child is between 12 and 24 months old.
Children living in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children communities in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia are more at risk of long lasting pneumococcal infections (bacteria that can cause pneumonia and other serious infections) compared with children living elsewhere.
When your children are 12 to 18 months old, they should have a free booster dose of the pneumococcal vaccine (Prevenar 13).
The annual flu vaccination is recommended for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 5 years as they are more at risk of complications, hospitalisation and death due to flu infection and its complications.
- 15 to 49 years old and at high risk of infection or the complications of infection
- 50 years or older.
Flu (influenza) vaccine
If you are 15 years and older, you are eligible for a free influenza vaccination every year as part of the National Immunisation Program.
To find out more, read about the influenza (flu) vaccines and who can have a free flu vaccine.
Hepatitis B vaccine
Adults who have never been vaccinated against hepatitis B, are recommended to have the vaccination.
Note that the vaccination for adults is not funded by the National Immunisation Program.
MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine
If you are a women of child bearing age living in rural and remote areas, and you have not had the MMR vaccination, you are recommended to have the vaccination before you conceive, to protect you from infection with measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles).
If you become infected with German measles while you are pregnant, you are at risk of miscarriage, and you are very likely to pass the infection to their unborn baby causing birth defects (congenital rubella syndrome).
- Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. National Immunisation Program. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-people
- Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. 3.1 Vaccination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In: The Australian Immunisation Handbook, 10th edn. http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part3~handbook10-3-1
- Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Immunise Australia Program. Vaccination for our Mob. www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/atsi-mob-report