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We are strongly encouraged by the international scientific community to use vaccinations to protect ourselves from many infectious and chronic diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that vaccinations prevent 2-3 million deaths around the world every year. Since the introduction of vaccinations in 1932 for Australian children, there has been a 99% reduction in deaths caused by vaccine-preventable diseases, making it arguably the most important and successful public health intervention in history.

When planning for vaccinations, whether it be for yourself or your child, there are several things you need to consider.

An introduction to vaccinations

  • What are vaccinations?
  • How do vaccines work?
  • Classifying vaccines
  • What else is in a vaccine?
  • What is not in a vaccine?
  • Which diseases can we be vaccinated against?
  • What are the benefits of being vaccinated?
  • What are the risks of being vaccinated?
  • What are the risks of not being vaccinated?

Vaccinations and planning for pregnancy

  • Which vaccines should I have when planning for pregnancy?
    • Influenza vaccine
    • Pneumococcal vaccine
    • Rubella and chickenpox: Birth-defect-causing organisms
  • How long should I wait between vaccination and falling pregnant?
  • Vaccinations for close household contacts and carers

Vaccinations during pregnancy

  • Whooping cough
  • Influenza
  • Unplanned pregnancy and other considerations



Vaccinations for your baby (0-5 years)

  • How childhood vaccinations have made the world a better place
  • When should my young child be vaccinated, and against which diseases?
  • Other considerations: Preterm babies, breastfeeding, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, international travel
  • Aditional vaccinations: Pneumococcal, influenza, meningococcal
  • Why is the National Immunisation Program the way it is?
  • How do I check if my child is up to date?
  • Vaccination requirements for childcare and certain benefits

Vaccinations for your child (5 years and older)

  • Children ages 5 years and above: Influenza vaccination
  • Children aged 10-15 years: Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough booster
  • Children aged 10-15 years: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination
  • Children aged 10-19 years: Meningococcal vaccination
  • School immunisation programs
  • International travel

Downloadable resources



  1. 10 facts on immunization [online]. World Health Organization; 2018 [cited 7 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  2. Immunisation for children [online]. Australian Government Department of Health; 2017 [cited 7 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
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Date Created: June 7, 2018