Vaccinations for Australia
Travelling to Australia? It’s a popular destination for many. With beautiful beaches, exotic wildlife and stunning scenery, it’s easy to see why.
If you’re planning a trip, it's important to safeguard your health. As with most destinations, there are a few risk factors to consider - such as wildlife, weather or illness.
Read on to check what vaccines you need to travel to Australia, and what else you can do to help you get the most from your trip down under.
British vaccines and boosters
All travellers should ensure their routine British vaccinations and boosters are up to date. These vaccinations are usually administered during childhood. Check which you've had on this list of routine immunisations. If you are unsure which you have received, consult your GP as they should have a record of all your past immunisations.
You will need to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter Australia. If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need a valid travel exemption certificate.
Travel vaccinations recommended for Australia
Generally, vaccines for Australian travel will be the same as the routine vaccinations in the UK. These may also include the seasonal flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccination.
Depending on your planned itinerary and the areas you intend to visit, travellers may need to consider vaccinations against the following:
Yellow fever is not currently a risk in Australia, however, travellers coming from (or via) countries with a high risk must have a vaccination certificate for yellow fever. Be aware of this if your travel plans will take you through a high-risk country for a stopover of 12 hours or more. Read more information on the yellow fever vaccination.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection that affects the liver. It can be spread through contaminated food or water supplies.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects the liver. It is transmitted through sexual contact, bodily fluids, contaminated needles and/or blood products.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection, spread by mosquitoes. This vaccination may be recommended for travellers visiting certain rural areas at times when mosquitoes are prevalent.
Tetanus is a type of bacteria found in soil and animal manure, passing through open wounds - such as cuts or burns. If you are up to date with your routine British immunisations, then you will have likely received a tetanus vaccination.
It is recommended that you receive 5 doses of this vaccine during your lifetime, so you may be advised to have a booster before you go. The tetanus vaccine is commonly given as a booster, along with diphtheria and polio. The diphtheria, polio and tetanus booster is a single vaccine that protects against all three diseases.
Rabies is a serious viral infection, and in Australia it is present in bats. However, other animals can also carry the virus. Rabies is not a threat to most travellers, however, if you intend to participate in outdoor pursuits that may put you in contact with bats, then a rabies vaccine may be recommended.
This is based on individual risk, and the types of activities you are planning, so consult your GP or travel healthcare provider for personalised advice. Find out which travel vaccines and routine jabs you need for your trip to Australia with our vaccination checker.
Common risks when going to Australia
Australia is a vast county, so the environment you are in will depend on the territories and areas you are visiting. Weather, wildlife and tropical illness have their own risk factors to consider.
Australia is known for exotic wildlife, but some are more frightening than friendly. There are poisonous animals, including certain snakes, jellyfish and spiders. Some mosquitoes may carry diseases such as dengue fever. Dengue fever is a viral illness, and there is no vaccine - so the best prevention is mosquito avoidance.
Pay attention to local signage, and don't approach unfamiliar animals. On land, stick to marked trails when walking or hiking, and ensure you have plenty of water, sunscreen, antihistamines and insect repellent to hand.
In the water, stick to patrolled beaches and swim between the flags, checking the depth of water before you get in. Read more safety advice for Australia.
Temperatures and climate
It can get very hot in Australia, especially during the summer months of December to February. Check the average temperatures for the month you're planning to travel and plan accordingly.
With the risk of sun overexposure, it's vital to seek shade, especially at the hottest parts of the day (between 10am and 3pm). Keep yourself hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion and carry hydration tablets. If you're travelling with babies or children, remember they are more sensitive to the sun. Check out our specialised tips for baby sun care.
Remember that even on cloudy days, the sun is strong and UV levels are high. You should expect to be wearing plenty of sunscreen and cover exposed skin where necessary. Hats are a must, but you should also consider rash guard vests and clothes that offer SPF protection.
Suncream ratings can often be confusing, so find the right sunscreen for you, and take plenty. If you're planning to be in the water, look for water-resistant, reef-safe formulas and remember to reapply.
If you do notice that you've sunburnt any skin, ensure you treat it as soon as possible to relieve discomfort. Read our tips on how to treat sunburn.
How much do vaccines for Australia cost?
Routine vaccinations in the UK are available on the NHS. If you need additional vaccinations above this, then there may be a cost involved. Consult your doctor or a travel health expert for personalised advice.
Where can I get vaccines for Australia?
Getting your vaccines before you travel to Australia can be done in a few ways. The NHS will usually provide routine British immunisations and boosters free of charge. They also provide some travel vaccines including:
- Hepatitis A
- Diphtheria, polio and tetanus (combined vaccine)
Other vaccinations which are not available on the NHS may still be available at your GP surgery, for a fee. Or if you prefer, you can choose to visit a private clinic such as MASTA.
How far in advance do I need to get vaccines for Australia?
Don't leave it too late! It's important to have your vaccinations around 6-8 weeks before you travel. This is to give your immune system time to build an antibody response to the vaccine.
Remember that some vaccinations also need several doses over a course of weeks. If it is deemed necessary for you to have additional vaccinations - such as Hepatitis B, rabies, or Japanese encephalitis, you may need 2 or 3 doses, several weeks apart.
What happens if I don’t have these vaccinations?
Travelling to Australia without meeting the entry requirements can cause difficulties and delays. Vaccines help you to stay healthy. They reduce the risk of serious illness for you, and also for those around you. If you have concerns or questions about travel vaccinations for Australia, then speak to your GP, or visit MASTA Travel Health for more information.
Australia is an amazing travel destination. Taking time to protect your health will give you peace of mind during your trip, so you can concentrate on making memories!
If Australia’s not the only stop on your adventures, be sure to check out our information for other destinations such as nearby Thailand.