Do you need vacinations for Australia?

Planning a trip to the sunny shores of Australia? Make sure you?ve had the right vaccinations first.

What vaccinations do you need to get before you visit Australia? Not many – we?re pretty risk free!

Thankfully, Australia is a very low risk country. There are very few diseases that you could catch here, and it?s difficult to catch them. And you don?t need to stress out about anti-malarials like you do for Asia, Africa, and Central or South America.

The following vaccinations have been recommended for travellers to Australia by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Routine vaccines

These are vaccines that you should have received as a child anyway, but if you haven?t, you should think about having them before you visit Australia. Australia has largely eradicated these diseases from its population, so don?t bring it back!

  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine
  • Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
  • Polio vaccine
  • Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Yearly flu shot

Yellow Fever

The Australian government requires proof that you have been vaccinated for yellow fever if you are travelling here from a country that has any risk of yellow fever. This is because there is currently no risk of yellow fever in Australia and we don?t want anyone bringing the live disease here. Countries with a yellow fever risk are mostly in Africa or Central and South America; see this list.

Japanese Encephalitis

You may need to get the Japanese encephalitis vaccine if you are visiting certain remote areas in Australia. You will only need it during a certain time of the year, and only if you are staying there for more than a month or spending most of your time outdoors during a shorter trip.

Hepatitis A

Hep A outbreaks happen throughout the world, even in low risk countries. You could get Hepatitis A if you happened to consume contaminated food or water in Australia, although this is very unlikely. Check with your doctor about whether you are medically at risk and whether you should get the Hep A vaccine.

Hepatitis B

If you plan during your stay to be sexually active, use needles for tattooing or piercing, or use blood products for surgery or other medical procedures, then just like for anywhere else, you will need to get the Hep B vaccine first.

Rabies

Bats in Australia carry rabies, just like in other countries. However, bats don?t go near humans so this is not a major risk to most travellers. Vaccination would probably only be required if you planned to spend time in remote areas doing activities such as cave exploring or cave diving.

Mosquito-borne diseases

Mosquitoes carry some diseases that they can pass on to humans through mosquito bites. These are also known as ?vector-borne? diseases.

In some tropical areas in Australia, mosquitoes can carry Murray Valley encephalitis virus, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, and dengue fever. Risky times of year for mosquito bites are the rainy season or after flooding. Unfortunately, you can?t get a vaccine for most of these. So make sure you wear plenty of insect repellent whenever you are outdoors, especially near bodies of water.

For other tips on avoiding mosquito bites, visit the Victorian state government?s Better Health website.

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