SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- As you get older, immunisations are still important because your immune system can become less effective at protecting you from some diseases.
- Immunisation is a proven and safe way to protect yourself against diseases that can cause serious illness, and sometimes even death.
- Immunisation can also help stop the spread of diseases, protecting others in your community too.
- The Australian Government funds some immunisations for older people under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
Immunisations are important for older people
We know are important to protect infants and children against vaccine preventable diseases, but did you know immunisations for older people are equally important? As you get older, your can become less effective at protecting you from some diseases.
Immunisation is a proven and safe way to protect yourself against diseases that can cause serious illness, and sometimes even death. It can also help stop the spread of diseases by protecting others in your community too.
Immunisations for older people can prevent many diseases that can cause health problems later in life. This can help you live a longer, healthier and more comfortable life.
It is never too late to vaccinate
Some diseases are more dangerous to older people than they are to the general population. Even diseases that don’t pose a serious threat to older Australians can be spread due to low immunisation uptake and affect others who might be more vulnerable, such as young babies.
Older people can catch infections more easily than younger people, and it can take a lot longer to recover. You can also lose the immunity you may have had when you were younger, meaning you could catch diseases you thought you couldn’t catch.
Some immunisations are free of charge
The following immunisations are free:
- – for people aged 65 years and older, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 50 years and older, and for adults 18 years and older with certain medical risk conditions.
- – is an annual vaccine for people aged 65 years and over, and for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. You will need to get this every year.
- – for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged ≥50 years, non-indigenous adults aged ≥70 years and for adults with certain medical risk conditions. Many of these risk conditions are funded under the National Immunisation Program, however some risk conditions are not eligible to receive funded pneumococcal vaccines under the National Immunisation Program.
These vaccinations are provided free for people in the specified age groups and with specified medical risk conditions because they can get very sick, or even die, if they are unprotected. Ask your GP or immunisation provider about your vaccine needs.
What immunisations do you need?
The immunisations you may need are decided by your health, age, lifestyle, and occupation.
Diphtheria-tetanus-whooping cough booster
spreads easily and can cause severe illness, and even death, especially in young babies under 6 months of age. Women from 20 weeks gestation of pregnancy are funded to receive the whooping cough vaccine to protect their baby in the first months of life before the baby starts vaccination.
The Australian Government also recommends adults who are going to be around a new baby, such as grandparents, get a to ensure the new baby is as safe as possible from this terrible disease. Even if you were immunised as a child, or you had whooping cough, your immunity can wear off. The booster dose is recommended if you haven’t had one in the past 10 years.
Other immunisations you may need
Your GP may recommend other vaccinations for you, depending on your HALO factors. These recommendations will vary from person to person. For instance, you may be planning to and may need to be immunised against certain diseases that are prevalent in the countries you are visiting.
Talk to your GP to arrange your vaccination. Some pharmacies have pharmacist immunisers or nurse immunisers who can administer certain vaccines too. Keep in mind that you may have to pay consultation fees to see your doctor or pharmacist immuniser, even if your vaccination is free, so be sure to ask when you make an appointment.
Where to get more information about immunisation
Find out more about immunisation by speaking with your health professional. The best place to start is with your GP. You can also ask your clinic nurse or specialist.
When looking for immunisation information, stick to reliable information providers, such as: