Vaccines for adults

Most vaccines are given during childhood, but some adults may also need vaccines including:

Being vaccinated against these diseases not only protects you from infection (i.e. makes you immune to the disease); it also protects everyone in the community, by reducing the number of people who can catch the infections and pass them on to others. This is called 'herd immunity'.

It is important to check with your health professional to see if you need any further vaccinations. Note that you may have to pay to have vaccinations that are not funded by the National Immunisation Program.

If you're not sure whether you've had all the vaccinations given as part of the National Immunisation Program schedule, talk to your doctor. Depending on your age, health and circumstances, your doctor may recommend that you have one (or more) of the following vaccines:

Note that you may have to pay to have vaccinations that are not funded by the National Immunisation Program.

Click on the vaccines listed above for more in-depth information, including who else should have them and their side effects.

People at risk of infection

Specific vaccines may be recommended for adults who are considered to be at risk of infection including:

  • adults with a weakened immune system that may reduce their ability to fight off infection (e.g. due to HIV infection, certain cancers that affect the immune system, or some medicines)
  • people with medical conditions that might increase their risk of complications of an infection (e.g. asthma)
  • older people who may be more likely to get sick if they are exposed to an infection such as influenza (flu) or pneumonia
  • people who are at high risk of being exposed to an infection due to workplace factors (e.g. healthcare workers)
  • people who may be at increased risk of exposure to infection due to lifestyle factors such as travelling, their sexual preference or drug use.

People who are considered at risk should make sure that they have the following vaccinations:

Note that you may have to pay to have vaccinations that are not funded by the National Immunisation Program.

Influenza (flu) vaccine

The flu vaccine (given every year in autumn) is recommended for:

  • anyone older than 6 months who would like to be vaccinated
  • children aged 6 months to 5 years
  • pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy) and women planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and older
  • anyone older than 6 months with a long-term medical condition including those with heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, or nervous system disorders that may affect breathing
  • children older than 6 months who need long-term aspirin treatment
  • people with Down syndrome
  • people who are obese (i.e. a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2)
  • people who have a weakened immune system (e.g. due to HIV infection or medicines that suppress the immune system)
  • older people who live in aged care facilities
  • homeless people
  • people who are 65 years and older
  • health workers, and people who care for children or older people, or who provide essential services
  • people travelling to countries where it is winter.

The groups listed above are recommended to have the vaccination to protect themselves from catching flu and its complications, or spreading it to those who are considered at greater risk of catching flu and experiencing a severe infection or complications.
Some at risk groups are eligible for a free flu vaccination. Your health professional will be able to tell you whether or not you are eligible. It is important to note that while the vaccine is free, your doctor may charge a consultation fee. Anyone who is not eligible for a free flu vaccine can be vaccinated at their own cost. Find out more about who can have the free flu vaccine.

More information

Pneumococcal vaccine

The pneumococcal vaccine protects you against the bacteria that cause pneumonia, meningitis and many other serious illnesses.

This vaccine is recommended for:

  • adults who are 65 years or older
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged between 15 and 49 years, who are medically at risk of infection and the complications of pneumococcal infections
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are 50 years and older.

More information