Getting vaccinated

Find out what to do when booking your appointment, and what to expect at your vaccination visit.

Health professionals

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If you are looking for information COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the COVID-19 vaccination page.

Where to get vaccinated

You can book a vaccine appointment at a range of health services. It's a good idea to check your or your child's immunisation history before you book an appointment.

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines are available through:

  • doctors or general practices
  • local council immunisation clinics (available in some states and territories)
  • community health centres
  • Aboriginal Medical Services
  • pharmacies and
  • schools, through school-based immunisation programs for adolescents.

Not all of these vaccination providers can provide free NIP vaccines in your state or territory. 

Contact your preferred vaccination provider to ask about the specific vaccines they can provide, and to arrange an appointment. The NIP does not provide free vaccines recommended for travel or work.

Routine vaccines are free

You can check the NIP schedule to find out which vaccines you or your family are eligible to receive for free and when.

You can find out more about what your recommended vaccines are, and when you should get them. The NIP funds all immunisations linked to family assistance payments.

Infants, children, adolescents and adults who have, or are eligible to have a Medicare card can receive free vaccines under the NIP.

Find out if you’re eligible for a Medicare card.

All NIP vaccines are free, but your doctor or other health care provider may charge a consultation fee for the visit. Check if there are any fees when making your appointment.

Vaccines that aren’t free

Vaccines not funded by the NIP, may be funded under state and territory government programs. Check the current immunisation schedule for the state or territory where you live.

You may need to purchase some vaccines not covered by the NIP or state/territory programs.  Speak to your GP about the costs for vaccines that aren't provided free such as vaccines for travel or work.

Who should get vaccinated

Most people should get vaccinated.  Your doctor will tell you which vaccinations you need based on your health, age, lifestyle and occupation.

There are some exceptions, for example some people with weak immune systems or people who are allergic (anaphylactic) to vaccine ingredients.

Certain medical conditions may influence whether you can be immunised. Your ability to be immunised may change when your condition changes.

If you or your child have a minor illness and do not have a fever, you can be safely vaccinated.

If you or your child have a major illness or a fever of 38.5 °C or more, you should wait to until you are well to get vaccinated.

You should consult your doctor if you:

  • have a fever of more than 38.5 °C on the day
  • are receiving a medical treatment such as chemotherapy
  • have particular allergies or have reacted badly to a vaccine in the past
  • are planning pregnancy, are pregnant or breastfeeding are an organ transplant recipient
  • have an autoimmune disease or chronic condition.

What to expect at a vaccination visit

During a vaccination visit, your doctor or other vaccination provider will ask you a range of questions. Read more about the pre-vaccination checklist and what to expect during your visit.

Side effects after immunisation

Vaccines, like any medication can have side effects.  Most reactions, such as low-grade fever and pain at the injection site are mild, usually short lasting, and do not require special treatment.

There is a very small risk of a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any vaccine. You should stay at the clinic or medical surgery for at least 15 minutes following immunisation in case further treatment is required.

Ask your doctor or vaccination provider about side effects from specific vaccines.

Learn more about possible side effects of vaccination.

Recording your vaccinations

After your appointment, your vaccination provider will enter information about the vaccine they gave you or your child into the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

The AIR records all National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines, and most privately purchased vaccines, given to people of all ages.

Remind your vaccine provider to notify the register each time you are vaccinated. 

Find out how to access your immunisation records.

Last updated: 
17 May 2022

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