Getting vaccinated

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

If you are looking for information about 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 vaccines are available through:

  • general practices
  • local council immunisation clinics (available in some states and territories)
  • community health centres
  • Aboriginal Medical Services
  • pharmacies 
  • schools (for adolescents).

Not all of these vaccination providers can provide all National Immunisation Program 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.

Routine vaccines are free

The National Immunisation Program provides routine vaccinations free to eligible people. Infants, children, adolescents and adults who have, or are eligible to have a Medicare card can receive the free vaccines. Find out if you’re eligible for a Medicare card.

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

Find out more about what your recommended vaccines are, and when you should get them. All immunisations linked to family assistance payments are provided free. Vaccines recommended for travel or work are not free. 

While the routine vaccines are free, your vaccination provider may charge a consultation fee for the visit. Check if there are any fees when making your appointment.

Free catch-up vaccinations

People who missed their recommended routine National Immunisation Program vaccinations in childhood, can still get them for free up until they are 20 years old. The catch-up schedule will need to start before their 20th birthday and may be completed beyond this date.

People who did not receive the HPV vaccine at 12 to 13 years of age are eligible for a free catch-up dose up to age 26.

You need to have or be eligible to have a Medicare card to receive catch-up vaccines for free.

Refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age can also get National Immunisation Program vaccines for free if they did not receive them in childhood.

The number and range of vaccines and doses that are provided free is different for people aged less than 10 years and those aged 10–19 years.

Check the National Immunisation Program schedule and talk to your vaccination provider if you or your child has not had all the recommended vaccinations. They can recommend a catch-up schedule based on age, vaccination history, and personal medical history.

People aged 20 years and over who have not received all vaccines may still benefit from a catch-up schedule, but these are not available for free. Some vaccines may be funded under state programs.

Vaccines that aren’t free

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

You may need to purchase some vaccines privately on a script if they are not provided through national, state or territory immunisation programs. This may include vaccines recommended for people working in certain occupations and industries, or travelling to countries that have a greater risk of disease. Speak to your vaccination provider 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 vaccination provider 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 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 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.

The register records all National Immunisation Program vaccines, and most privately purchased vaccines, given to people of all ages.

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

Find out how to access your immunisation records.

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