People with medical risk conditions

People with specific medical risk conditions may require additional vaccines. Your doctor will advise if you need any additional vaccines.

Health professionals

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About vaccines for people with medical risk conditions

Vaccination for people with certain medical risk conditions is important as you or your child may be at increased risk of disease and need additional protection.

Speak to your doctor or vaccination provider about your or your family’s specific needs. They will advise if you or your child have a specified medical risk condition and require additional or specific vaccines.

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) funds a number of vaccines for people with medical conditions that increase their risk of disease. You can buy others privately with a prescription.

Pneumococcal

People with certain medical risk conditions that put them at higher risk of getting pneumococcal disease are recommended and free to receive additional pneumococcal vaccines under the NIP:

  • children under 12 months who are diagnosed with certain medical risk conditions receive 6 doses in total over a number of years
  • all people 12 months and over who are diagnosed with certain medical risk conditions receive 3 doses in total. 

The type of vaccine used and the dosage schedule will depend on age and any conditions that put people at higher risk of getting pneumococcal disease. Your doctor can tell you which vaccine they will use for your pneumococcal immunisation.

Medical risk conditions covered under the NIP include:

  • functional or anatomical asplenia
  • some immunocompromising conditions including immune deficiency, organ and stem cell transplants and HIV infection
  • some chronic diseases such as lung disease, kidney disease and heart disease
  • babies born prematurely
  • people who have Down syndrome
  • people who have had specific operations including cochlear implants and intracranial shunts
  • people who have a condition where the fluid leaks out from around their brain and spinal cord
  • people who have had pneumococcal disease before.

Eligibility can also depend on age - if the person is less than 5 or over 5 years of age. Your doctor or vaccination provider will advise if you or your child has a specified medical risk condition and requires additional vaccinations. Not all medical risk conditions are covered under the NIP.

For information on medical conditions recommended and/or funded under the NIP, refer to the ATAGI clinical advice on vaccination recommendations for people with risk conditions from 1 July.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

Meningococcal

People with certain medical risk conditions that put them at higher risk of getting meningococcal disease are recommended and free to receive meningococcal ACWY and meningococcal B vaccines under the NIP:

  • for children under 12 months who have certain medical risk conditions, the number and spacing of meningococcal B and meningococcal ACWY vaccine doses required depends on the starting age for vaccination.   
  • all people 12 months and over who have who have certain medical risk conditions receive 2 doses of meningococcal B vaccine and 2 doses of meningococcal ACWY vaccine.

Medical risk conditions covered under the NIP include:

  • functional or anatomical asplenia/hyposplenia
  • complement deficiency
  • undergoing treatment with eculizumab

Your doctor or vaccination provider will advise if you or your child has a specified medical risk condition and requires additional vaccinations. Not all medical conditions are covered under the NIP.  

For information on medical conditions recommended and/or funded under the NIP, refer to the ATAGI clinical advice on vaccination recommendations for people with risk conditions from 1 July.

Visit the Meningococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the meningococcal vaccine.

Influenza

Influenza vaccination is recommended for people with certain medical conditions that increase their risk of serious influenza disease and complications.

Annual influenza immunisation is free through the NIP for people aged six months old or over with medical conditions that makes them more likely to get severe influenza. These conditions include:

  • heart disease
  • chronic lung disease (including people with severe asthma who require frequent hospital visits)
  • chronic neurological conditions
  • impaired immunity
  • blood disorders caused by genetic changes (haemoglobinopathies)
  • diabetes
  • kidney disease.

Speak to your doctor if you are unsure if you have a medical condition that might increase your risk of serious influenza disease and complications.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on getting the influenza vaccine.

Haemophilus influenzae type b

The Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine is recommended and funded for adults and children over 5 years of age with functional or anatomical asplenia, if they were not fully vaccinated in early childhood according to the Hib vaccination recommendations for infants and children.

Visit the Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) immunisation service page for information on getting hib vaccine.

Last updated: 
23 June 2020
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