Your job and vaccinations you should get

Immunisation recommendations for adults at occupational risk (excluding health care workers)

All adults who grew up in Australia should have received a primary course of vaccination as a child.

This includes:

  • 3 doses of a diphtheria-tetanus containing vaccine that may also have included protection against pertussis (whooping cough)
  • 3 doses of polio vaccine
  • 2 doses of a measles containing vaccine that may also have included protection against mumps and rubella.

Depending on the age of the person additional vaccines may have been administered to offer protection against other diseases or as booster doses. People who were born overseas may have received similar vaccines and it is recommended that everyone discuss their previous vaccine history with their General Practitioner (GP) or Community Health Centre. Some employers may request a vaccination history from their employees.

Where documentation is not available, blood testing may be indicated to assess protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccinations recommended for all adults in Australia

Adults continue to be at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases because of incomplete vaccination, increasing age, other medical conditions, or activities that place them at risk of infection. Some vaccines require a booster to be given later in life in order to top-up the body’s immune response from earlier vaccination.

The following vaccines are recommended:

Tetanus-Diphtheria or Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis

Tetanus-Diphtheria or Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis is for all adults at 50 years who have not received a booster in the previous 10 years.

A Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (whooping cough) combination vaccine is encouraged for this age group to provide protection against pertussis but may incur a cost.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) is for all adults born during or after 1966 who do not have a documented history of 2 MMR vaccines or good history of previous measles, mumps and rubella infection.

Influenza

Influenza is for all people ≥6 months of age. Free vaccine is available for all Indigenous people 15 years and over; all non-Indigenous people aged 65 years and over; all pregnant women and all those ≥6 months of age with medical conditions that predispose them to severe influenza (e.g. heart disease, chronic lung disease, impaired immune system). Influenza vaccine must be given every year.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal disease is for all Indigenous people 15 years and over and all non-Indigenous people 65 years and over. People who are smokers, or who have other medical conditions which predispose them to pneumococcal disease should receive additional pneumococcal vaccines at a younger age however these may incur a cost.

People who have specific medical conditions (e.g. asplenia) may benefit from additional vaccinations and their individual needs should be discussed with their GP or health professional.

Adult vaccines are available from GPs, Aboriginal health services and some Community Health Centres.

Vaccinations related to occupational risk

Hepatitis B

The risk of infection by hepatitis B varies considerably according to the work environment.

Vaccination is recommended for any workers who may be exposed to blood or other body fluids (not including saliva). Hepatitis B is specifically recommended for staff who work in disability and in correctional facilities, as well as for embalmers, funeral workers, sex workers, tattooists, body-piercers and for police, members of the armed forces and emergency services if their duties may involve exposure to human tissue, blood or body fluids.

A course of 3 vaccines given over a 6 month period offers long term protection. Booster doses of vaccine are not routinely required and post-vaccination testing for immunity 4 to 8 weeks after the 3rd dose is recommended for workers whose work involves frequent exposure to blood and body fluids or in people with an impaired immune system. This vaccine can be given as a combination vaccine with hepatitis A if required.

Find out more about Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for plumbing and sewage workers, people who work in childcare and preschools, disability and aged care facilities, sex workers and workers living in or visiting rural and remote Indigenous communities or developing countries. 

To avoid unnecessary vaccination, pre-testing for immunity is recommended for people born before 1950, those who grew up in an endemic community including remote NT communities or those with previous unexplained hepatitis or jaundice. 

A course of 2 vaccines given over a 6-12 month period offers long term protection. This vaccine can be given as a combination vaccine with hepatitis B.

Find out more about Hepatitis A.

Chickenpox

Most adults will have had this disease by the time they are 12 years old and the protection it provides is generally lifelong. 

Chickenpox is a severe disease in adults and vaccination for the non-immune is recommended for people who work with children where exposure is likely, such as teachers and child care workers. Pre-testing for immunity is only recommended if the history of previous disease is unknown. 

A course of 2 vaccines given 1 month apart offers long-term protection.

Find out more about chickenpox.

Pertussis (whooping cough)

A single booster dose of pertussis containing vaccine is recommended for all adults who work with young children especially childcare workers if they have not received the vaccine in the previous 10 years.

Pertussis-only vaccines are not available in Australia.

Find out more about pertussis and the pertussis vaccine.

Influenza

While the annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all people 6 months and over, it is particularly recommended for staff who work in early childhood and aged care, long-term care and correctional facilities, emergency and essential services workers, poultry and piggery workers and members of the armed forces.

Find out more about influenza and the influenza vaccine.

Occupations that involve working with animals

There are a range of vaccines that are recommended for people who work with animals depending on the animals involved. 

Contact your local Centre for Disease Control (CDC) for further advice.

Tuberculosis testing

A tuberculin skin test (Mantoux) is used for baseline screening for tuberculosis. It is recommended for staff who care for the homeless and those who work in aged and long-term care, alcohol rehabilitation and treatment centres, immigration detention and correctional facilities, customs and quarantine and interpreting services, as well as cleaners and administrative staff who work in clinical areas. 

Contact your local CDC for further advice or find out more about tuberculosis.

Where to go for vaccination, testing and further information

Where vaccinations are recommended based on occupational risk, the cost of vaccination is generally the responsibility of the employer or the employee.

The provision of occupational vaccinations should be negotiated through a GP or Aboriginal Health Service.

Mantoux testing is free and available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from the TB clinic at regional CDC units and also from some travel clinics. A follow-up visit 3 days later is required to have the test read by
medical staff.

Contact

For more information contact the Centre for Disease Control.

Last updated: 27 June 2017