Vaccines and diseases

Vaccine schedules

Visit the National Immunisation Program Schedule to find vaccination schedules for Queensland. 

For tuberculosis (TB) vaccinations, contact Queensland Health.

Adult whooping cough

The vaccine can be purchased from any Council community immunisation clinic for $44.15. Pregnant women can receive a free whooping cough vaccine between mid second trimester and early third trimester (between 20 and 32 weeks gestation) of each pregnancy.  


Children can be vaccinated from 18 months to 13 years old. If a child is over the age of 14 and has never been immunised, two vaccines will be required. The vaccine protects about 90 percent of children. If the infection does occur after vaccination, it is usually mild.

People who should not get the vaccine include:

  • pregnant women
  • people with immune deficiency diseases (for example, HIV or AIDS)
  • people taking immune-suppressing medication.

Side effects are rare, but about one in five people get a local reaction (redness or swelling at injection site) or fever, and one in 20 get a mild chickenpox-like rash.

The chickenpox vaccine is administered to children at 18 months of age. The chickenpox vaccine cannot be given within four weeks of receiving another live vaccine (for example, Measles, Mumps and Rubella).

Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough

Diphtheria is bacteria found in an infected person's mouth, nose and throat, which can cause difficulty swallowing and breathing. The bacteria release a toxin that can cause paralysis and heart failure. Diphtheria is fatal in about 16 percent of cases.

Tetanus causes muscle spasms in the neck and jaw muscles (lockjaw) and can cause breathing difficulties and abnormal heart rhythms. It enters the body through puncture wounds. Tetanus is fatal in about two percent of cases in Australia.

Whooping cough (pertussis) bacteria is spread by coughing or sneezing. Whooping cough affects the air passages, which makes breathing difficult.

A combination vaccine diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis immunises against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. Side effects include:

  • irritability
  • a mild fever
  • redness and swelling at injection site
  • soreness at injection site.

The diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough vaccine component is administered to children at two, four, six and 18 months, and four years of age. A diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough vaccine (Boostrix) is available for all year 7 students through a school program. Children who missed the vaccination on the day at school can receive Boostrix through Council clinics. 

If a student has recently had an ADT (Adult Diphtheria Tetanus) vaccine, they still require a Boostrix vaccine as these vaccines do not have the pertussis component. It is safe to receive Boostrix even if ADT was given recently (for example, six weeks ago). There must be at least a six-week interval between doses.

The Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (dTpa) vaccination can be purchased at Council’s community immunisation clinics by adults (over 19 years old) for $44.15.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a liver infection and is mostly transmitted by the faecal-oral route.

Side effects of the hepatitis A vaccine are generally mild and can include:

  • soreness at injection site
  • fatigue
  • headache in adults.

Tests show vaccines are 98 percent effective and last for many years.

Children need two hepatitis A vaccine doses. The first dose at 18 months and the second and final dose at four years of age. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children can receive free hepatitis A vaccinations at Council community immunisation clinics. All other children will need to see their GP to purchase this vaccine.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a virus that affects the liver and is contracted through contact with blood or other body fluids, or from infected mother to neonate.

Babies get immunised:

  • after birth
  • at two months
  • at four months
  • at six months.

Side effects after hepatitis B vaccination are generally minor and can include:

  • soreness at injection site
  • fever.

Haemophilus influenzae type B

The haemophilus influenzae (Hib) vaccine is given in a number of stages. The first dose of the Hib vaccine is normally given at two months of age.

The Hib vaccine used in Australia contains a part of the Hib bacteria attached to a protein that stimulates the immune system.

Possible side effects include:

  • mild swelling at injection site
  • redness at injection site
  • fever.

Human papillomavirus

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is spread by personal contact with a sufferer. 79 percent of people have experienced genital HPV infection (also known as genital warts). Most genital infections associated with HPV will not develop into cervical cancer.

The HPV vaccine 'Gardasil' protects against HPV in over 97 percent of cases. Gardasil is available to all year 7 students through a school program.

Students that miss the vaccination at school can receive the Gardasil vaccine, up to the age of 26, through Council immunisation clinics.

Possible side effects include:

  • pain at injection site
  • redness at injection site
  • swelling at injection site
  • fever
  • nausea.


Influenza is a highly infectious viral disease that affects mainly the nose, throat, bronchi and occasionally the lungs. It is characterised by inflammation of the respiratory tract, fever, chills, muscular pain and headaches.

Council offers both a free and paid influenza program. 

A free influenza vaccine is available through Council's clinics for the following eligible groups:

  • all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age
  • pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • Adults aged 65 years and over
  • all individuals aged 6 months and over with medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza.

People who are ineligible for a free influenza vaccine can purchase the vaccine from any Council community immunisation clinic for $21.55. 

Please check with Council’s Contact Centre on 07 3403 8888 or email the Immunisation team for flu vaccine availability.

If unsure whether you are considered medically at risk, email Council.

Measles, mumps and rubella

Measles is a highly infectious illness. It can cause serious complications such as pneumonia (lung infection) and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Measles is spread from an infectious person during coughing or sneezing.

Mumps is an infection of the salivary glands caused by the mumps virus. It can cause swelling of the salivary glands or occasionally more serious complications including inflammation of the brain or spinal cord, hearing loss or sterility. Mumps is spread through either saliva or droplets from the sneeze or cough of an infected person.

For most people, rubella is a mild illness, however, rubella can cause serious birth defects if infection occurs during pregnancy. Rubella is highly contagious. It is spread by droplets from coughing or sneezing, or by direct contact with the infectious person.

Side effects following immunisation are generally mild. They include:

  • fever, lasting two or three days
  • rash (not infectious)
  • tiredness
  • swelling of the salivary glands.

These side effects are seen seven to 10 days after infection.

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is given to:

  • children in two doses at 12 months and 18 months old
  • adults born during or since 1966 who have not received two doses of a measles containing vaccine. Minimum interval between doses for this age group is four weeks.

Meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease is bacteria in the throat or nose and is spread by coughing and sneezing. There are 13 known strains of meningococcal disease. The most common in Australia is type B and type C.

Types of meningococcal vaccinations available in Australia include:

  • meningococcal B vaccine (Bexsero). This vaccine is now available for purchase through all Council immunisation clinics for $121.65. It is available for children from six weeks of age. It is provided free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children with medical risk conditions for Invasive Meningococcal disease.
  • a vaccine that protects against meningococcal A, C, W and Y. This vaccine is given at 12months and is also free for young people aged 15 to 19 years of age who have missed it in year 10 at school. Meningococcal ACWY can also be given to those who have medical conditions for Invasive Meningococcal disease.

Side effects include:

  • redness and swelling at injection site
  • fever
  • irritability
  • decreased appetite
  • headaches.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria carried in the throat and nose and is spread by coughing or sneezing. It can cause pneumonia and middle ear infection.

The pneumococcal vaccine is funded for the following groups:

  • Prevenar 13 administered at two, four and 12 months of age
  • an additional dose of Prevenar 13 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, administered at six months of age, along with Pneumovax 23 administered at four years of age with an additional dose at least five years later
  • Pneumovax 23 administered to medically at-risk children at four years of age, along with an additional dose at least five years later
  • Prevenar 13 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older at diagnosis (must be given by GP) with a dose of Pneumovax 23, 12 months later, along with an additional dose at least five years later
  • Prevenar 13 for adults aged 70 years and older, without any risk conditions
  • Prevenar 13 for any children 12 months and older, adolescents and adults of any age diagnosed with medical risk factors for Invasive Pneumococcal disease. The first dose at diagnosis must be given by GP. A dose of Pneumovax 23 is given 12 months later, along with a further dose five years after.

Side effects include:

  • pain and swelling at injection site
  • fever
  • irritability
  • drowsiness
  • decreased appetite.


Polio is a gastrointestinal virus that affects the central nervous system. Since 1978, poliomyelitis or polio has been eradicated in Australia. However, children must be vaccinated against polio as there's a risk of importation.

The polio vaccine is free and requires three doses at two, four and six months with a booster at four years. Side effects include:

  • pain at injection site
  • redness or a hard lump at the injection site
  • fever
  • decreased appetite.


Rotavirus causes severe diarrhoea, dehydration and stomach pain in babies and children. It is contagious and infection is usually spread through the faecal–oral route.

The vaccination is given in a two-dose course. The first vaccine is administered between six to 14 weeks and the second and final vaccine is administered between 10 to 24 weeks of age.

Side effects include:

  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting.


Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus in people who have previously had chickenpox. Shingles usually causes a rash, and can also cause headaches, itching and pain. Shingles is most common in people over 50.

The shingles vaccine (Shingrix) is a vaccine which is available for free to people aged 65 years and older. This is a 2-dose course and is now available at all Council community immunisation clinics.

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Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.