IMMUNISATION SERVICES

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FAQ – General Booking Questions

The immunisation services provided by Chemist Warehouse pharmacies will vary by State/Territory and pharmacy.  A summary of what may be provided in different States/Territories is available below:

Current as at 4 January 2019.

State/ Territory Pharmacist Immunisation Service Age allowed by legislation Age for which Chemist Warehouse service provided Access to free NIP vaccine via pharmacy Access to free State/ Territory vaccine via pharmacy
ACT Flu (influenza) 16+ 16+ For people aged 65 years or over only (under trial) No
Measles, Mumps, Rubella Not allowed
Whooping cough (Pertussis) 16+ 16+ No No
NSW Flu (influenza) 16+ 16+ No No
Measles, Mumps, Rubella 16+ 16+ No No
Whooping cough (Pertussis) 16+ 16+ No No
NT Flu (influenza) 16+ 16+ No No
Measles, Mumps, Rubella 16+ 16+ No No
Whooping cough (Pertussis) 16+ 16+ No No
QLD Flu (influenza) 16+ 16+ No No
Measles, Mumps, Rubella 16+ 16+ No No
Whooping cough (Pertussis) 16+ 16+ No No
SA Flu (influenza) 16+ 16+ No No
Measles, Mumps, Rubella 16+ 16+ No No
Whooping cough (Pertussis) 16+ 16+ No No
TAS Flu (influenza) 10+ 10+ No No
Measles, Mumps, Rubella Not allowed
Whooping cough (Pertussis) Not allowed
VIC Flu (influenza) 16+ 16+ For eligible people No
Measles, Mumps, Rubella 16+ 16+ For eligible people For eligible people
Whooping cough (Pertussis) 16+ 16+ For eligible people For eligible people
WA Flu (influenza) 18+ 18+ For people aged 65 years or over only (under trial to May 2019) No
Measles, Mumps, Rubella Not allowed
Whooping cough (Pertussis) Not allowed

At Chemist Warehouse, we won't be beaten on the price of vaccines and immunisation services.

The cost of immunisation services provide by Chemist Warehouse will vary by the type of vaccine and immuniser.

Vaccines covered by the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and specific State/Territory immunisation programs are free for eligible people, however, not all pharmacies or pharmacist immunisers have access to these free vaccines.

If you are eligible for a free vaccine under the NIP or specific State/Territory immunisation programs, speak with your pharmacist or doctor prior to making your appointment to confirm availability of the free vaccine.

If you are not eligible for the free vaccine, you will need to pay for it. The cost depends on the vaccine used.  Your pharmacist can provide more information.

To make an appointment go to the immunisation page on the Chemist Warehouse website (click here) and use our online booking system:

  • Choose the immunisation service you require
  • Enter your suburb or postcode
  • Select your nearest participating pharmacy
  • Select an available date and time for the immunisation service
  • Enter your contact details, Medicare number, GP details etc
  • Pay for your immunisation service by credit card (or click ‘I have a voucher code’ to enter a corporate voucher)

Payment is made online by credit card.

If your employer is participating in our corporate immunisation program they may issue you with a voucher code; This can be used in place of a credit card payment.

If you do not have a credit card or a voucher code, please contact your nearest participating pharmacy for information.

If you have a voucher code, your employer is paying for a specific immunisation service.  You must make an appointment for that immunisation service using our online booking system.

In the payment section click ‘I have a voucher code’. Enter your voucher code and confirm your booking.

Yes, unless you are using a corporate voucher.

Payment must be made at the time of making your appointment. Our online booking portal allows for easy payment by credit card.

Once your booking has been placed and payment made, you will receive a confirmation email with your appointment details. This will also have the details required for a tax receipt.

If you do not have a credit card, please contact your nearest participating pharmacy for information.

If for any reason you are unable to attend your scheduled appointment, your booking can be changed by contacting the pharmacy where your immunisation was scheduled. The pharmacy details can be found on your booking confirmation e-mail.

Pharmacy staff can attempt to reschedule or cancel your appointment over the phone. Rescheduling appointments is subject to booking availability.

If you are unable to attend your scheduled appointment for any reason, your booking can be cancelled by contacting the pharmacy where your immunisation was scheduled. The pharmacy details can be found on your booking confirmation e-mail.

Pharmacy staff can attempt to reschedule or cancel your appointment over the phone. Rescheduling appointments is subject to booking availability.

If you miss your scheduled appointment for any reason, you must contact the pharmacy where your immunisation was scheduled. The pharmacy details can be found on your booking confirmation e-mail.

If you contact the pharmacy within 24 hours of the missed appointment, pharmacy staff can attempt to reschedule your appointment over the phone. Rescheduling missed appointments is subject to booking availability.

Bookings for immunisation services may require a valid Medicare card. This depends on the immuniser (i.e. trained pharmacist, nurse or doctor) and State or Territory legislative requirements. If you require a valid Medicare card, you will be prompted when making the booking.  Enter the Medicare card number at the time of booking and bring the card to your appointment. 

If you do not have a Medicare card, click the ‘I do not have a Medicare Card’ link and you will be redirected to a new booking page. An additional fee of $10 may apply for these bookings.

If you were required to enter a Medicare number at the time of booking, you must bring your Medicare card with you to the appointment. If you do not bring a valid Medicare card to the appointment, an additional fee of $10 may apply.

We recommend you arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your appointment time. When you arrive, proceed to the registration desk.

You will receive printed information about the vaccine (such as a Consumer Medicines Information leaflet) and a Pre-vaccination Screening and Consent Form to complete.

Arriving early provides sufficient time to read the information and complete the form prior to seeing the immuniser.

The immunisation service will be provided in a private consultation area.

A trained pharmacist, nurse or doctor will discuss your Pre-vaccination Screening and Consent Form and administer the vaccine if safe and appropriate.

You are required to remain within the pharmacy, near the immuniser, for a further 15-minute observation period to monitor for the unlikely event of an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

You should expect to be in the pharmacy for approximately 30 minutes:

We ask that you arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your booking time to allow for registration and screening.

The immunisation service will take approximately 5-10 minutes.

Following the immunisation, you are required to remain within the pharmacy for a further 15-minute observation period to monitor for the unlikely event of an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

After your immunisation, we will email you a Statement of Vaccination as a record of the service. The Statement of Vaccination includes the following details:

  • your full name and date of birth
  • the details of the vaccine given, including the brand name, batch number and expiry date
  • the date and time of vaccination
  • the site of administration
  • the name of the person administering the vaccine
  • the date the next vaccination is due.

FAQ – Flu (Influenza)

The flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications. It is spread by contact with respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms of the flu can include fever, muscle and joint pain, extreme exhaustion, chills, sore throat and a stuffy nose. These symptoms can last 1-2 weeks.

It is estimated that the flu contributes to over 3,000 deaths in Australia each year.

Symptoms of the flu develop quickly and can last for several weeks.

The most common symptoms of the flu include:

  • sudden appearance of a high fever (38oC or more)
  • body aches (particularly in the head, lower back and legs)
  • chills
  • extreme weakness and tiredness
  • a dry cough
  • loss of appetite
  • sore throat
  • runny/stuffy nose.

The flu can lead to other complications, such as sinus or ear infections, or more severe issues such as pneumonia, inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle tissues (myositis, rhabdomyolysis).

Colds and flu are both caused by viruses and have some overlapping symptoms but differ in the appearance, duration and severity of symptoms.

Colds come on gradually over a few days and are milder with more nasal symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. Symptoms generally last a few days to a week (but can last longer).

The flu generally comes on quickly and can be severe causing high fever, muscle aches, shivering and extreme exhaustion. Symptoms generally last one to two weeks.

The flu can cause serious complications, particularly in children, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, which is why the flu is a more serious concern than the common cold.

The flu is a highly contagious viral infection that is spread by contact with respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Direct contact with these fluids into the nose, mouth or eyes or indirect contact via contaminated surfaces (e.g. table tops, door handles, pens, cups etc.) can cause a person to become infected with the flu.

There are a range of preventative measures to reduce the risk of getting and spreading the flu:

  • Annual immunisation in autumn each year (March to May) prior to the peak of the flu season.
  • Good hand hygiene, including regular and thorough hand washing with soap or hand sanitiser to reduce the spread of the virus. For ideal hand washing and hand sanitiser techniques, refer to the World Health Organisation’s procedure here.
  • Coughing etiquette, including the use of a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, and disposing of the tissue immediately. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow. After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, ensure appropriate hand washing or hand sanitiser techniques are followed.
  • Stay at home while you are unwell. In particular, avoid going to work or school or visiting busy public places.
  • Avoid sharing linens, eating utensils and dishes.

Annual immunisation is the most effective way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and reduce the spread of the virus in the community. Therefore, getting a flu immunisation protects you and those who are more vulnerable to severe complications associated with the flu.

Annual immunisation is recommended for everyone over 6 months of age. Immunisation gives you the best protection available against the flu, and reduces spread of the disease to your family, friends, and vulnerable people in the community.

Some people are at higher risk of severe complications associated with the flu. Annual immunisation is even more important for these groups and people in contact with these groups.

Annual immunisation is strongly recommended for:

  • Infants and children (aged between 6 months and 5 years)
  • Adults (aged 65 years or older)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • People with medical conditions that increase their risk of flu:
    • immunocompromising conditions
    • organ transplant
    • cardiac disease
    • Down syndrome
    • obesity
    • chronic respiratory conditions
    • chronic neurologic conditions
    • chronic liver disease
    • chronic illnesses who need medical follow-up or hospitalisation
    • aged 6 months to 10 years and on long-term aspirin therapy
    • preterm infants (less than 37 weeks gestation)
  • Homeless people
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Occupational groups
    • carers and household contacts of people in high-risk groups
    • residents, staff and volunteers in aged care and long-term residential facilities
    • commercial poultry and pork industry workers
    • essential services providers
  • Travellers (when travelling during flu season)

Some of these high-risk groups may be eligible for a free flu vaccine under the National Immunisation Program. For further information, please read “Who is eligible for free flu vaccine under the National Immunisation Program?”

Immunisation against the flu is not appropriate for people who:

  • have had a serious allergy (such as anaphylaxis) from a previous flu vaccine
  • have had a serious allergy (such as anaphylaxis) to a component of the flu vaccine (e.g. eggs)
  • are unwell (with a temperature over 38.5oC) at the time of their appointment
  • are aged under 6 months.

If any of the above apply to you, please speak with your pharmacist or doctor.

If you have a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome, it is recommended that you receive your flu immunisation from your regular GP. 

It takes two to three weeks for the vaccine to become effective and the body to develop immunity after immunisation.

Annual immunisation is recommended in autumn (March – May) each year, prior to the peak of the flu season which usually occurs between June and September.

Protection from the vaccine is expected to develop two to three weeks after immunisation but optimal protection occurs within the first three to four months after immunisation. You should not delay immunisation until closer to winter, as the flu can occur at any time, and the peak of the flu season may come earlier than expected. Getting immunised sooner minimises the risk of catching the flu before the season ‘peaks’.

Most people should receive 1 dose of flu vaccine each year. However, the following people should receive 2 doses, 4 weeks apart:

  • children aged between 6 months and 9 years receiving flu vaccine for the first time
  • people of any age receiving flu vaccine for the first time after haematopoietic stem cell or solid organ transplant.

It is important to have the flu immunisation every year because:

  • the virus is constantly changing, and the vaccine changes every year to ensure protection against the most recent and common circulating strains
  • your immune protection from the flu immunisation declines over time.

Flu vaccines can vary with regard to:

  • the number of virus strains included in the vaccine, and
  • age range that the vaccine can be administered.

Trivalent and quadrivalent flu vaccines are available. Trivalent vaccines include three strains of the flu virus. Quadrivalent vaccines include four strains of the flu virus.

We use the quadrivalent vaccine for the flu immunisation service, providing you with the best protection available next winter.

An enhanced version of the trivalent vaccine is available for people aged 65 years or older. This vaccine is designed to increase the immune system’s response to the vaccine and cover against the strains more common and severe in older people. The vaccine is only accessible through the National Immunisation Program. People aged 65 years or older should speak with their pharmacist or doctor prior to booking a flu immunisation.

You can get your flu immunisation at a range of immunisation providers including your local doctor’s clinic, and in some cases, your pharmacy.

For information about what immunisation services are available at Chemist Warehouse, please read ‘What immunisation services are available at Chemist Warehouse?’ in ‘General Booking FAQ’.

Your doctor or immunisation provider will advise you about which vaccine will be used for your flu immunisation.

At Chemist Warehouse, we use the quadrivalent flu vaccine for 2019. The quadrivalent vaccine includes the four most recent and common circulating strains of the flu virus, providing you with the best protection available this winter.

For information about the different types of flu vaccine, please read ‘What are the different types of flu vaccine?’

The flu vaccine provides the best protection available against the flu, however the vaccine is not 100% effective, and effectiveness can vary from year to year and amongst different patient groups.

The flu virus is constantly changing, and the vaccine changes every year to ensure protection against the most recent and common circulating strains.

The formulation of flu vaccines used in Australia is determined each year by the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) based on information and recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

An enhanced version of the trivalent flu vaccine (commonly known as the 'super vaccine') is available for people aged 65 years or older. This vaccine is designed to increase the immune system's response to the vaccine and cover against the strains more common and severe in older people. The vaccine is only accessible through the National Immunisation Program. People aged 65 years or older should speak with their pharmacist or doctor prior to booking a flu immunisation.

Side effects of the flu vaccine are generally mild and short term (normally lasting no more than 48 hours). They may include:

  • drowsiness or tiredness
  • muscle aches
  • localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • a small, hard lump (nodule) at the injection-site (can last 1-2 weeks)
  • low-grade temperature (fever), which may be managed with paracetamol.

Very rarely, more serious side effects can occur following administration of the flu vaccine, however these tend to be allergic (anaphylactic) reactions to components in the vaccine.

If you are concerned that your side effects are severe or persistent please contact your GP, visit your nearest hospital emergency department or call '000' immediately.

The flu vaccine is Category A in pregnancy, which means the vaccine is considered safe to use in pregnant women.

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) strongly recommends flu immunisation for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding as it provides protection against the flu for the mother and the baby in early infancy. The NIP provides free flu vaccine to pregnant women. 

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please speak to your doctor prior to booking a flu immunisation. Your doctor will discuss the potential risks and benefits of having a flu vaccine while you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine because in Australia vaccines do not contain the 'live' virus.

Flu vaccines covered by the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and State/Territory immunisation programs are free for eligible people. Sometimes immunisation providers may charge a consultation fee. It is best to check prior to making your appointment.

If you are eligible for free vaccine under the NIP or State/Territory immunisation programs, you should speak with your pharmacist or doctor prior to making your appointment to ensure availability of free vaccine.

If you are not eligible for free vaccine, you will need to pay for it. Your pharmacist can give you more information.

At Chemist Warehouse, we won't be beaten on the price of vaccines and immunisation services.

If you have a voucher code, your employer is paying for your flu immunisation service. You must make an appointment for the flu immunisation using our online booking system.

In the payment section click 'I have a voucher code'. Enter your voucher code and confirm your booking.

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) provides a free flu vaccine to eligible people. The following groups of people are eligible for free flu vaccine under the NIP and should speak with the pharmacist or doctor prior to booking a flu immunisation:

  • anyone aged 65 years and older
  • pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months or over
  • people aged 6 months or older with:
    • cardiac disease
    • chronic respiratory conditions
    • chronic neurological conditions
    • immunocompromising conditions
    • diabetes and other metabolic disorders
    • renal disease
    • haematological disorders
  • children on long-term aspirin therapy between 6 months and 10 years of age.
  • The Australian Immunisation Handbook Influenza information available here
  • The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) Influenza Vaccine Fact Sheet available here
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) Influenza fact sheet available here
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) - Hand Hygiene: Why, How & When? available here
  • Better Health Channel (Victorian State Government) Flu information available here

FAQ – Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR)

Measles, mumps and rubella are all highly contagious viral infections that can cause serious and sometimes fatal complications. They are all spread by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Measles causes a skin rash and fever. Complications include pneumonia and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

Mumps causes fever and swollen salivary glands. Complications include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or heart muscle (myocarditis).

Rubella (or German Measles) causes a skin rash and joint pain. Complications for pregnant women include severe and permanent birth defects or death of the unborn baby.

Measles, mumps and rubella are uncommon in Australia due to widespread immunisation against the diseases. It is important to continue immunising children to eliminate these diseases and protect against infection which may be bought into the country by people arriving or returning from overseas.

Symptoms of measles, mumps and rubella may include:

Measles Mumps Rubella
  • fever
  • general discomfort, illness or lack of wellbeing (malaise)
  • runny nose
  • dry cough
  • sore and red eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • red and bluish spots inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)
  • red and blotchy skin rash that appears first on the face and hairline, and then spreads to the body.
  • fever
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • swollen parotid gland (the salivary gland located just in front of the ear) on one or both sides of the face
  • painful chewing
  • painful swallowing.
  • mild fever
  • headache
  • runny nose
  • sore eyes
  • skin rash
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • joint pain.

Symptoms occur 10-12 days after infection

Symptoms occur 14-25 days after infection, however about a third of cases are so mild that there are no symptoms

Symptoms occur 14-21 days after infection, however about half of cases are so mild that there are no symptoms

Measles, mumps and rubella are highly contagious viral infections that are spread by contact with respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Direct contact with these fluids into the nose, mouth or eyes or indirect contact via contaminated surfaces (e.g. table tops, door handles, pens, cups etc.) can cause a person to become infected with the virus.

People are contagious for up to 1 week before symptoms appear to up to 1 week after symptoms appear, noting the exact period is different for each infection.

Immunisation is the most effective protection against measles, mumps and rubella.

Other preventative measures to reduce the risk of getting and spreading measles, mumps and rubella include:

  • Good hand hygiene, including regular and thorough hand washing with soap or hand sanitiser to reduce the spread of the virus. For ideal hand washing and hand sanitiser techniques, refer to the World Health Organisation’s procedure here.
  • Coughing etiquette, including the use of a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, and disposing of the tissue immediately. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow. After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, ensure appropriate hand washing or hand sanitiser techniques are followed.
  • Staying at home while you are unwell. Avoid going to work or school or visiting busy public places.
  • Avoid sharing linens, eating utensils and dishes.

Measles, mumps and rubella are highly contagious viruses that can cause serious and sometimes fatal complications. Immunisation is the most effective protection available against measles, mumps and rubella.

Measles, mumps and rubella are currently uncommon in Australia due to widespread immunisation against the diseases. It is important to continue immunising children to eliminate these diseases and protect against infection which may be bought into the country by people arriving or returning from overseas.

Immunisation with 2 doses of an MMR-containing vaccine is recommended for:

  • Infants and children aged 12 months or over
  • Adolescents and adults born in or after 1966

Immunisation with 2 doses of an MMR-containing vaccine is strongly recommended for:

  • Occupational groups
  • healthcare workers born in or after 1966
  • childhood educators and carers born in or after 1966
  • long-term care facility workers born in or after 1966
  • correctional facility workers born in or after 1966
  • Travelers
  • Women of child-bearing age who are seronegative for rubella

MMR immunisation is not appropriate for people who:

  • have had a serious allergy (such as anaphylaxis) from a previous MMR vaccine
  • have had a serious allergy (such as anaphylaxis) to a component of the MMR vaccine
  • are unwell (with a temperature over 38.5oC) at the time of their appointment
  • are pregnant (or plan to become pregnant within 28 days)
  • are immunocompromised (due to a medical condition or immunosuppressive therapy such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or corticosteroids).

If any of the above apply to you, please speak with your pharmacist or doctor.

If you have any other medical conditions, allergies, are taking any medicines (prescription or over the counter) or are breastfeeding please speak to your pharmacist or doctor who will advise if MMR immunisation is appropriate for you.

MMR immunisation is included in the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule and State/Territory immunisation schedules, therefore it is important to check the immunisation schedule for your area.

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT) here
  • Northern Territory here
  • New South Wales here
  • Queensland here
  • South Australia here
  • Tasmania here
  • Victoria here
  • Western Australia here

However, MMR immunisation is recommended for anyone over 12 months born in or after 1966. You can have a MMR immunisation at any time provided MMR immunisation is appropriate for you and you meet the minimum age for the vaccine used. The two doses must be given at least 4 weeks apart.

Immunisation with 2 doses of an MMR-containing vaccine at least 4 weeks apart is recommended for anyone over 12 months born in or after 1966.

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule has two doses administered at 12 months and 18 months of age.

Catch up immunisation is available for anyone who does not have evidence of two confirmed doses of MMR immunisation.

Measles, mumps and rubella containing vaccines are only available in combination.

Measles, mumps and rubella containing vaccines can vary with regard to the:

  • viruses included in the vaccine, and
  • age range that the vaccine can be administered.

There are two types of combination vaccines available in Australia:

  • vaccines that protect against measles, mumps and rubella (referred to as MMR vaccine)
  • vaccines that protect against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (referred to as MMRV vaccine).

MMR and MMRV are live attenuated vaccines which means they contain a weakened form of the live viruses.

Your doctor or immunisation provider can advise you about which vaccines are available and appropriate for you.

You can get your MMR immunisation at a range of immunisation providers including your local doctor’s clinic, and in some cases, your pharmacy.

For information about what immunisation services are available at Chemist Warehouse, please read ‘What immunisation services are available at Chemist Warehouse?’ in ‘General Booking FAQ’.

Your doctor or immunisation provider will advise you about which vaccine will be used for your MMR immunisation.

For information about the different types of MMR vaccine, please read ‘What are the different types of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine?’

MMR vaccines provide the best protection available against measles, mumps and rubella, however, as with all vaccines, 100% protection cannot be guaranteed. Also, it may take a month or more for maximum protection to develop after immunisation.

Side effects of MMR vaccines are generally mild and short term. Some side effects may occur 1-3 weeks after immunisation. Side effects may include:

  • localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • headache
  • fever
  • mild rash
  • swelling of glands
  • joint pain.

Very rarely, more serious side effects can occur following administration of a MMR vaccine, however these tend to be allergic (anaphylactic) reactions to components in the vaccine.

If you are concerned that your side effects are severe or persistent please contact your GP, visit your nearest hospital emergency department or call ‘000’ immediately.

MMR vaccines are not safe in pregnancy. Pregnancy should be avoided for 28 days after a MMR immunisation.

MMR vaccines covered by the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and State/Territory immunisation programs are free for eligible people. Sometimes immunisation providers may charge a consultation fee. It is best to check when you make your appointment.

If you are eligible for free vaccine under the NIP or State/Territory immunisation programs, you should speak with your pharmacist or doctor prior to making your appointment to ensure availability of free vaccine.

If you are not eligible for free vaccine, you will need to pay for it. The cost depends on the type of vaccine, the formula and where you buy it from. Your immunisation provider can give you more information.

At Chemist Warehouse, we won’t be beaten on the price of vaccines and immunisation services.

MMR vaccine is provided for free under the National Immunisation Program for infants aged 12 months and 18 months. Free MMR catch up vaccine is also provided for all children aged up to 19 years.

In some States and Territories, MMR vaccine may be provided for free to other patient groups. Please follow the links below for information about your State/Territory funded vaccines:

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT) here
  • Northern Territory here
  • New South Wales here
  • Queensland here
  • South Australia here
  • Tasmania here
  • Victoria here
  • Western Australia here
  • The Australian Immunisation Handbook available here
  • The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) MMR vaccine decision aid available here
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) Measles fact sheet available here
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) Measles immunisation information available here
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) Mumps immunisation information available here
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) Rubella fact sheet available here
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) Rubella immunisation information available here
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) - Hand Hygiene: Why, How & When? available here
  • Better Health Channel (Victoria) Measles information available here
  • Better Health Channel (Victoria) Mumps information available here
  • Better Health Channel (Victoria) Rubella information available here

FAQ – Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It is spread by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Whooping cough causes symptoms like a cold and then develops into a characteristic cough. This cough may last up to three months, even after antibiotic treatment is completed and the person is no longer infectious.

Whooping cough is particularly dangerous for babies aged under 6 months as they are more seriously affected and more likely to develop complications associated with the illness. One in every 200 babies aged under 6 months who gets whooping cough will die.

Whooping cough begins with symptoms like those of a cold. These symptoms can quickly progress to include:

  • characteristic 'whooping' sound on inhalation
  • vomiting at the end of a bout of coughing
  • apnoea (where the person stops breathing for periods of time)
  • loss of appetite (or refusing to feed in babies)
  • weakness and tiredness
  •  

Complications in young babies include pneumonia, seizures and hypoxic encephalopathy. These complications can lead to death.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that is spread by contact with respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Direct contact with these fluids into the nose, mouth or eyes or indirect contact via contaminated surfaces (e.g. table tops, door handles, pens, cups etc.) can cause a person to become infected with the bacterium. The bacterium does not survive for long outside the body.

A person is infectious for the first 21 days of their cough, or until they have completed 5 days of a 10-day course of antibiotics.

Immunisation is the most effective protection against whooping cough.

Other preventative measures to reduce the risk of getting and spreading whooping cough include:

  • Good hand hygiene, including regular and thorough hand washing with soap or hand sanitiser to reduce the spread of the virus. For ideal hand washing and hand sanitiser techniques, refer to the World Health Organisation’s procedure here.
  • Coughing etiquette, including the use of a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, and disposing of the tissue immediately. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow. After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, ensure appropriate hand washing or hand sanitiser techniques are followed.
  • Staying at home while you are unwell. Avoid going to work or school or visiting busy public places.
  • Avoid sharing linens, eating utensils and dishes.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can cause serious and sometimes fatal complications in babies. Immunisation is the most effective protection available against whooping cough.

Every year in Australia, an average of 1 death and more than 200 hospitalisations related to whooping cough occur in babies aged under 6 months. These babies are too young to be fully immunised. Older children and adults who have not received whooping cough immunisation are at risk of infection and are often the source of infection in babies.

The whooping cough immunisation is recommended for any adult who wishes to reduce the likelihood of contracting and spreading whooping cough. Whooping cough immunisation is particularly recommended for:

  • Infants and children (5-dose schedule)
  • Adolescents aged 11 to 13 years
  • Pregnant women
  • Adult household contacts and carers of babies aged under 6 months
  • Adults aged 65 years or over
  • Occupational groups
  • healthcare workers
  • early childhood educators and carers
  •  
p>Whooping cough immunisation is not appropriate for people who:

  • have had a serious allergy (such as anaphylaxis) from a previous whooping cough vaccine
  • have had a serious allergy (such as anaphylaxis) to a component of the whooping cough vaccine
  • are unwell (with a temperature over 38.5oC) at the time of their appointment

If any of the above apply to you, please speak with your pharmacist or doctor.

If you have any other medical conditions, allergies or are taking any medicines (prescription or over the counter) please speak to your pharmacist or doctor who will advise if whooping cough immunisation is appropriate for you.

Whooping cough immunisation is included in the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule and State/Territory immunisation schedules, therefore it is important to check the immunisation schedule for your area.

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT) here
  • Northern Territory here
  • New South Wales here
  • Queensland here
  • South Australia here
  • Tasmania here
  • Victoria here
  • Western Australia here

The NIP specifies a 5-dose whooping cough immunisation schedule at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months, and 4 years of age. A booster dose is recommended at 11 to 13 years and every 10 years thereafter. A booster dose is also recommended in the third trimester of each pregnancy and for adult household contacts and carers of babies aged under 6 months (2 weeks prior to contact with the baby).

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) specifies a 5-dose whooping cough immunisation schedule at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months, and 4 years of age.

Catch up immunisation is available for anyone who does not have evidence of five confirmed doses of whooping cough immunisation.

Protection after receiving a whooping cough immunisation declines over time therefore booster immunisations are required.

A booster dose is recommended between 11 and 13 years and every 10 years thereafter.

A booster dose is also recommended in the third trimester of each pregnancy and for adult household contacts and carers of babies aged under 6 months (2 weeks prior to contact with the baby).

Speak with your pharmacist or doctor if you are unsure when you received your last whooping cough immunisation.

Whooping cough vaccine is only available in Australia in combination with diphtheria and tetanus. Vaccines may also include inactivated poliovirus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b.

Whooping cough containing vaccines can vary with regard to the:

  • bacteria and viruses contained in the vaccine,
  • number of components of Bordetella pertussis contained in the vaccine, and
  • age range that the vaccine can be administered.

The acronym DTPa, using capital letters, signifies a child formulation of diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis–containing vaccine.

The acronym dTpa signifies a formulation that contains substantially less diphtheria toxoid and pertussis antigens than the child formulation. Adolescents and adults are recommended to receive dTpa vaccine.

Your doctor or immunisation provider can advise you about which vaccines are available and appropriate for you.

You can get your whooping cough immunisation at a range of immunisation providers including your local doctor’s clinic, and in some cases, your pharmacy.

For information about what immunisation services are available at Chemist Warehouse, please read ‘What immunisation services are available at Chemist Warehouse?’ in ‘General Booking FAQ’.

Your doctor or immunisation provider will advise you about which vaccine will be used for your whooping cough immunisation.

For information about the different types of whooping cough vaccine, please read ‘What are the different types of whooping cough vaccine?’

Whooping cough vaccines provide the best protection available against whooping cough, however, as with all vaccines, 100% protection cannot be guaranteed. Also, it takes approximately two weeks for maximum protection to develop after immunisation and protection declines over time therefore booster immunisations are required for optimal protection.

Side effects of the whooping cough vaccines are generally mild and short term. Side effects may include:

  • localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • fever
  • nausea
  • fatigue, weakness or tiredness
  • body aches.

Very rarely, more serious side effects can occur following administration of a whooping cough vaccine, however these tend to be allergic (anaphylactic) reactions to components in the vaccine.

If you are concerned that your side effects are severe or persistent please contact your GP, visit your nearest hospital emergency department or call ‘000’ immediately.

Whooping cough vaccines are safe in pregnancy. In fact, whooping cough immunisation is recommended at 20-32 weeks pregnant to allow the mother’s body time to produce antibodies that will pass to the baby before birth. These antibodies will help protect the baby until they receive their own immunisation.

Whooping cough vaccines covered by the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and State/Territory immunisation programs are free for eligible people. Sometimes immunisation providers may charge a consultation fee. It is best to check prior to making your appointment.

If you are eligible for free vaccine under the NIP or State/Territory immunisation programs, you should speak with your pharmacist or doctor prior to making your appointment to ensure availability of free vaccine.

If you are not eligible for free vaccine, you will need to pay for it. The cost depends on the type of vaccine, the formula and where you buy it from. Your immunisation provider can give you more information.

At Chemist Warehouse, we won’t be beaten on the price of vaccines and immunisation services.

Whooping cough vaccine is provided for free under the National Immunisation Program for infants aged 2,4,6 and 18 months and children aged 4 years. Free whooping cough catch up vaccine is provided for all children aged up to 19 years. Free whooping cough booster vaccine is provided for adolescents and pregnant women.

In some States and Territories, whooping cough vaccine may be provided for free to other patient groups. Please follow the links below for information about your State/Territory funded vaccines:

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT) here
  • Northern Territory here
  • New South Wales here
  • Queensland here
  • South Australia here
  • Tasmania here
  • Victoria here
  • Western Australia here
  • The Australian Immunisation Handbook; Pertussis (whooping cough) available here
  • The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) Pertussis fact sheet available here
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) Pertussis immunisation information available here
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) - Hand Hygiene: Why, How & When? available here
  • Better Health Channel (Victorian State Government) Pertussis information available here