Immunisation for people with medical risk conditions

People with specific medical risk conditions may require extra vaccines.

Health professionals

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Vaccines for people with medical risk conditions

People with certain medical risk conditions are at greater risk of getting some vaccine-preventable diseases and need additional protection.

Speak to your doctor about your and your family’s specific needs. They can advise if you or your children need additional or specific vaccines.

The National Immunisation Program funds a number of vaccines for people with certain medical risk conditions, including:

  • pneumococcal
  • meningococcal
  • influenza
  • haemophilus influenzae type b.

Not all medical risk conditions are covered for free. For information on medical conditions recommended and/or funded, refer to the ATAGI clinical advice on vaccination recommendations for people with risk conditions from 1 July 2020.

Pneumococcal vaccine

Pneumococcal vaccines are recommended and free for people with certain medical risk conditions that put them at higher risk of getting pneumococcal disease. Vaccines are free for:

  • children under 12 months with conditions that increase their risk of pneumococcal disease receive 6 doses in total over a number of years.
  • all people 12 months and over with conditions that increase their risk of pneumococcal disease 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. Ask your doctor what pneumococcal vaccination to get and when.

Additional pneumococcal vaccinations are free for people with the following medical risk conditions:

  • functional or anatomical asplenia
  • some immunocompromising conditions including immune deficiency, organ and stem cell transplants and HIV infection
  • some chronic diseases such as lung, kidney and/or 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 invasive pneumococcal disease before.

Eligibility for additional pneumococcal vaccines 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 pneumococcal vaccinations.

Find more information: Pneumococcal immunisation service 

Meningococcal vaccine

Meningococcal ACWY and meningococcal B vaccines are free and recommended for people with certain medical risk conditions listed below. People with these conditions have a higher risk of getting meningococcal disease.

  • For children under 12 months with certain medical risk conditions, the number and spacing of both vaccine doses depends on the starting age for vaccination.   
  • All people 12 months and over who have who have certain medical risk conditions should get 2 doses of both vaccines.

Medical risk conditions covered under the National Immunisation Program:

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

Ask your doctor if you or your children need additional vaccinations.

Find more information: Meningococcal immunisation service

Influenza vaccine

Influenza vaccination is free and recommended for people aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions. These conditions increase their risk of serious complications if they catch the flu.

The National Immunisation Program covers free annual flu vaccination for with the following medical risk conditions:

  • 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.

Ask your doctor if you are at risk of serious complications from influenza.

Find more information: Influenza immunisation service

Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine

The haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine is recommended and free for people over 5 years of age with functional or anatomical asplenia – if they were not fully vaccinated in early childhood.

Get more information: Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) immunisation service

See Getting vaccinated for information on where to get vaccinated, what to expect, immunisation records and possible side effects.

Last updated: 
29 March 2022
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