Adults over 50 years old are at increased risk of some vaccine-preventable diseases and of serious complications from these diseases, even if they are otherwise healthy.
Was the person born during or since 1966? Check to see if they have received any MMR vaccines; offer 2 doses of MMR vaccine, 1 month apart, if they have not already received them.
Is the person 50 years old or more? Check to see if they need any of the following:
Booster doses – Immunity to some diseases can start to wane in older people, and they may need booster doses of some vaccines. Offer adults aged 50 years a booster dose of dTpa vaccine to protect against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, if their last dose was more than 10 years ago. Offer adults aged 65 years or over a booster dose of dTpa vaccine if their last dose was more than 10 years ago.
Herpes zoster (shingles) – The incidence of herpes zoster increases with age, as does the incidence of serious complications such as post-herpetic neuralgia. Give adults aged 70–79 years a dose of zoster vaccine if they have not already received one. Do not give zoster vaccine to adults who are immunocompromised. Funded under the National Immunisation Program.
Pneumococcal disease – Pneumococcal disease is more prevalent in older adults. For healthy non-Indigenous adults aged 70 years or over, give 1 dose of 13vPCV if they have not already received a dose. Funded under the National Immunisation Program. Give 13vPCV at least 12 months after any previous dose of 23vPPV. For healthy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 50 years or over, give 1 dose of 13vPCV, 1 dose of 23vPPV 12 months later, and a 2nd dose of 23vPPV at least 5 years later. Funded under the National Immunisation Program.
Influenza – Influenza-associated mortality rates are highest among older adults and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Each year, give non-Indigenous adults aged 65 years or over a dose of seasonal influenza vaccine. Funded under the National Immunisation Program. Each year, give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults of any age a dose of seasonal influenza vaccine. Funded under the National Immunisation Program.
See the Australian Immunisation Handbook for more details.
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- diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine, reduced antigen content formulation
- 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
- 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine
Printed content may be out of date. For up to date information, always refer to the digital version: https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/resources/publications/vaccination-for-healthy-ageing.