Make sure that all your basic immunisations are up to date before any travel overseas. Before commencing immunisations, refer to prescribing information before vaccination, particularly to contra-indications and warnings, and for further details you should see the University Health Service, or your local doctor.
See Immunisation Information for Students for all basic immunisation information.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all, and is now included in routine infant vaccination. Adults may need a 'catch up' immunisation.
If your blood test shows Hepatitis B antibodies (Hep B s Ab > 10 IU/l) then the you are considered immune and do not require this vaccine.
There is good evidence that a completed primary course (three injections, second at 1 month, third at six months followed by a blood test showing hepatitis B antibodies) provides long lasting protection in normal individuals. If immunisation is successful, then further boosters are not recommended.
An approved rapid immunisation schedule is available for student needing urgent immunisation against Hepatitis B.
Consult the prescribing details for each vaccine, particularly for contraindications and warnings.
Hepatitis A is caused by a virus which affects the liver. It is spread by contaminated food and water, and from person to person. It is a common cause of illness in travellers.
Hepatitis A Vaccine is very effective.
A single injection gives protection for 1 year. A booster at 6-12 months gives protection for at least 10 years.
Combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B
A combined vaccine against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B (Twinrix is available).
The vaccination schedule is the same as for Hepatitis B (3 injections over the following intervals: 0 months, 1 months and 6 months). An approved rapid immunisation schedule is available for student needing urgent immunisation against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.
Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain. It causes high fever, headache, stiff neck and drowsiness, and may be rapidly fatal. The vaccine (Mencevax or Menomune) protects against epidemics which occur in sub-Saharan Africa, northern India, Nepal. It is required for pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. A booster every 3 years is suggested. Mencevax and Menomune protect against the serotypes of Meningitis commonly encountered overseas.
This is not the vaccine used for routine immunisation against meningitis in Australia.
The vaccine used for routine immunisation against Meningitis in Australia is the Meningitis C vaccine (Meningitec or NeisVac-C). This is the vaccine advised for babies, adolescents, young adults and people living in group accommodation.
Typhoid fever is spread by contaminated food and water. It is a serious illness causing high fever, headache, abdominal pain and constipation or diarrhoea.
The vaccine, Typherix or Typhim Vi consists of one injection and lasts 3 years.
An oral vaccine, Vivotif is also available.
Typhoid vaccine can also be given in combination with hepatitis A in the injectable vaccine Vivaxim.
Yellow Fever is a virus spread by mosquitoes. It occurs in parts of Africa and South America. If you come to Australia from a Yellow Fever infected country you are required to have the vaccine for entry to Australia. You may also need this vaccine to enter countries if you have travelled through a Yellow Fever infected area/country. The vaccine lasts 10 years and is only available from government nominated vaccination centres.
Rabies is a virus which affects the nervous system. It is spread by a bite or a scratch from an infected animal, usually a dog or a monkey (or by inhalation in a bat inhabited cave). It occurs in most of the world but is most common in India, South America, Thailand, the Philippines & Africa.
Vaccination is recommended if you will be working in rural areas, or with animals, or going for an extended period away from medical help (eg trekking). Immunisation consists of 3 doses of vaccine given over 1 month, and this needs to be completed 1 month before departure.
Even if you have been vaccinated, in the event of a bite of a scratch from an animal you still need to seek urgent medical advice and may need to have further Rabies boosters.
Whether you have been vaccinated or not, thoroughly washing and disinfecting the wound is very important.
Japanese B Encephalitis
This is a virus spread by mosquitoes which can affect the brain in a small proportion of cases. The vaccine is expensive, and can have side-effects but should be considered by travellers spending longer periods in rural areas in Asia.
Cholera vaccine is no longer recommended because it doesn't work very well. Officially no country requires a certificate for entry. If you are worried about border crossings demanding a certificate, discuss it with us.
- Influenza vaccine is recommended for anyone over 65 or with a significant medical condition (especially heart or lung disease).
- Plague, Typhus, Tuberculosis, Q fever and a few others are specialised vaccines mainly needed by those working overseas.
Cholera is a severe diarrhoeal disease causing rapid dehydration. An effective vaccine (Dukoral) taken by mouth is available. Two doses are required taken at least 1 week apart, and no later than 6 weeks apart. It is recommended that the course should be completed 2 weeks before departing on the trip. Dukoral lasts for 1 year so if staying for longer in a Cholera endemic area you will need to repeat the course.
Influenza vaccine is recommended for all travellers but especially older people and people with medical conditions (especially heart or lung disease eg asthma). This vaccine changes annually so you need to have one every 12 months for protection.
There are a number of diseases such as Malaria, Dengue, Rabies and Scrub Typhus, which can make you very ill, are widespread and easily contracted outside Australia. It is helpful to be aware of them and how to protect yourself. Scrub Typhus and Dengue do occur in pockets of Australia.
This site is designed to provide information about health services at the University of Canberra and is for educational purposes only. Its contents are not intended to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease. See your health care professional for specific medical assistance.
We are not able to answer personal medical problems by email.
For problems concerning the web content please contact the Director, Health and Counselling on telephone: (02) 6201 2351