Answers to your questions on immunisation
There are four steps you should take before being vaccinated.
- Check immunisation history with the national registers.
- Book your vaccination appointment through your doctor or health provider.
- Read our tips on how to make your own or your child’s vaccination less stressful.
- Consider any relevant health information your vaccination provider may need.
For more information click here.
Vaccines have small amounts of dead, weakened or partial virus/bacteria. The immune system responds by producing antibodies in the body. These can be quickly produced again if you contract the virus or germ, stopping the disease or reducing its impact.
No. Scientific research has proven that vaccines do not cause autism, SIDS, asthma or allergies. Before a vaccine is made available in Australia, it’s tested on thousands of people in clinical trials. It also passes strict safety testing. All Australian immunisations are monitored to ensure they are safe.
Vaccines do not contain mercury. Before 2000, some contained thiomersal (a compound containing mercury). It was safe but was changed as a precaution.
Vaccines are almost always safe for breastfeeding women. Yellow fever vaccine should be avoided when possible. But if the risk of catching yellow fever is high, you and your doctor may consider it.
Breastfeeding mothers can check with their doctor or health provider or go here for more information.
You can get your child immunised at your doctor or immunisation provider. To find an immunisation provider near you:
- Call 13 HEALTH (13 4325 84)
- Use HealthDirect’s free service finder
- Call the National Immunisation Hotline on 1800 671 811.
Check the Immunisation Schedule Queensland for vaccinations required at each age, then make an appointment with your doctor. Take a look at our pre-immunisation checklist and bring your child’s red book or immunisation record if you have one.
Babies who were born preterm follow the same immunisation schedule as other children (however, they may require extra doses). This is based upon their actual birth date. Scientific evidence proves that healthy preterm babies respond well to full vaccine doses. If you have a sick or low weight preterm baby, talk to your doctor or immunisation provider about a modified schedule.
If you or your child are not immunised, then you’re at much higher risk of infectious diseases that can leave you or your child with serious and possibly fatal complications. You may also be putting people in your community at risk such as those who can’t be vaccinated due to age or medical conditions.
Some diseases can be very serious for young babies and infants and that’s why it’s good to have them immunised while they are young so that they can get the best protection against serious infectious diseases as soon as they can.
The schedule is carefully planned so that babies and children are protected as soon as possible. It takes many years of careful research by independent experts to work out the right time to give each vaccine before they make their recommendations based on which diseases Australian children are most likely to be exposed to, how serious those diseases are at different ages, which vaccines are safest and works best, how many doses are needed to give full protection, and the age when the vaccines will give the best protection.
The schedule of recommended vaccinations changes from time to time because of advice provided by clinical experts. This may include improvements being made to the vaccine to make them better, more effective and less expensive than previous versions. Sometimes, booster doses are added to the schedule to strengthen the protective effect of a vaccine.
When vaccination is delayed or spaced out, you may be exposed more to serious diseases longer than advisable. For children, this also means they will need to have more vaccination appointments which could prove stressful for you and your child.
If your child has fallen behind or missed a vaccination, ask your doctor or immunisation provider about catch-up vaccines. There is no need to repeat vaccinations already given before your child receives a catch-up dose.
If you or your child have missed any vaccinations, a catch-up schedule is a way of completing the recommended Immunisation Schedule Queensland in the shortest, most effective timeframe.
Immunisations are effective and safe, although all medication can have unwanted side effects. For specific information about side effects from different types of vaccine, ask your doctor or health provider.
The flu season in Queensland is typically from June to September, with the peak usually in August.
The strains used in seasonal influenza (flu) vaccines can change each year depending on which viruses are predicted by experts to be circulating in the community. Annual vaccination gives us the best protection against the latest strains of the flu. It is never too late to vaccinate since influenza can circulate in the community all year round.
To achieve the highest level of protection during the peak of flu season, it is normally recommended that influenza vaccination happens in April and May.
The flu vaccine will not prevent coronavirus infection. But it can reduce the severity and spread of influenza, which may make a person more susceptible to other respiratory illnesses like coronavirus.
In Queensland, annual flu vaccine is free for:
- children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age
- pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
- adults aged 65 years or older
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and older
- individuals aged 6 months and older with medical conditions that increase the risk of complications.
For more information visit the Immunisation Schedule Queensland or check with your doctor or health provider.
You can get vaccinated at several places:
- your doctor
- an immunisation service
- Council or community health clinic
- Aboriginal Medical Services
- school-based immunisation programs
- some workplaces
- some hospitals
- travel medicine clinics
- staff occupational health clinics
- aged care facilities
To find an immunisation provider near you:
No. Alternative or homeopathic immunisations can’t replace vaccines. They don’t have the ingredients that work in the way that vaccines work, and they haven’t been scientifically tested or proven. This means that they don’t protect people from infectious diseases such as diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, polio and measles.
Some diseases are not common in Australia but are more common in nearby countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Vaccination will protect you and your child from these diseases which could be brought into Australia by travellers or if you catch it when you travel overseas.
Immunisation for rare diseases, like polio, are still given to stop the disease from spreading or coming back.