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Vaccinations at 12 months

Key facts

  • At 12 months, three age-specific vaccines are recommended for your child. These include: 

    • a vaccine that protects against meningococcal disease
    • a vaccine that protects against pneumococcal disease
    • a combined vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • It is also recommended that your child is vaccinated against influenza every year before the influenza season. Influenza vaccines are free for all children aged six months to under five years, and can be given at the same time as age-specific vaccines. 

Last updated on 9 June 2023.
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What vaccines are recommended for my child?

Three age-specific vaccines are recommended for your child at 12 months of age. The technical names for the vaccines are:

  • 4vMenCV, which protects against meningococcal disease caused by four types of meningococcus (A, C, W and Y)
  • 13vPCV, which protects against pneumococcal disease caused by 13 types of pneumococcus
  • Combined MMR vaccine, which protects children from measles, mumps and rubella.

It is also recommended that your child gets an influenza vaccine before the start of the influenza season. An influenza vaccine is one of the best ways to protect your child against influenza, sometimes called ‘the flu’. The influenza vaccine is free and can be given at the same time as the age-specific vaccines.

What diseases do the vaccines protect my child against?

The vaccines recommended for your child at 12 months of age will strengthen their immunity to the diseases described below.

Meningococcal disease can cause swelling around the brain (meningitis) and blood poisoning (sepsis). The germs usually live in the mucus found in a person’s nose and throat. They spread between people when they cough or kiss. Meningococcal disease can be fatal. Children who survive can have brain damage or other long-term problems, like severe scars or amputations.1

Learn more about meningococcal disease and meningococcal vaccination >

Pneumococcal disease is caused by germs (bacteria) that can cause swelling around the brain (meningitis), infection in the lungs (pneumonia), ear infections that can damage babies' hearing, and other serious diseases. Babies and children can catch it from each other just like they catch colds.1

Learn more about pneumococcal disease and pneumococcus vaccination >

Measles is best known as a disease that causes a red and blotchy rash. It spreads from person to person just like a cold, even before the rash starts. Measles can be very serious. It causes lung infections (pneumonia), blindness, bleeding (thrombocytopenia) and brain diseases including meningitis and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis or SSPE. SSPE is very rare, but always fatal.1

Learn more about measles and measles vaccination >

Mumps is a virus that spreads from person to person. It causes headaches, sore throat, fevers (high temperatures), aching muscles and painful swellings in the jaw area. Rarely, mumps causes brain infections such as meningitis or encephalitis.1

Learn more about mumps and mumps vaccination >

Rubella is sometimes called ‘German measles’ because it causes a rash that looks like the one caused by measles, but it is a different disease. Rubella is usually a very mild illness, but it spreads easily from one person to another. If a pregnant woman catches rubella, her baby will almost certainly be born with serious birth defects such as deafness, blindness or brain damage. Vaccinating children against rubella helps protect mothers and their babies against the disease.1

Learn more about rubella and rubella vaccination >

Influenza is an illness caused by influenza viruses. Although some of the symptoms are similar, influenza is different from the common cold. Influenza is usually more severe and lasts longer. Even if your child is usually healthy, influenza can make them very unwell. It can lead to serious conditions like severe lung infection (pneumonia) or inflammation in the brain (encephalitis). Babies and children under the age of five are more likely to get severe influenza than adults and other children. They are also more likely than adults and older children to need treatment in hospital.1

Learn more about influenza and influenza vaccination >

What do I need to do before the vaccination?

There’s no need to do anything special to get your child ready for vaccination.

Most parents take their children to be vaccinated at their local general practice or at a vaccination clinic. If possible, take your child’s health record booklet with you so your doctor or nurse can make notes about the vaccinations they have had.

No matter how gentle your doctor or nurse is, needles hurt! And most children cry at least a little after they get a needle. The good news is there are some things you can do for your child to make needles feel less painful.

What do I need to do after the vaccination?

Some children could feel a little unwell or unsettled for a day or two after they get their vaccinations. Most of the common reactions will last between 12 and 24 hours and then get better, with just a little bit of love and care from you at home.

Serious side effects are very rare, but they can happen and some parents want to know more about them before they vaccinate their children.

If your child doesn’t seem to be getting better, or you are worried about them, you can get help from:

  • your doctor
  • your nearest emergency department
  • or by calling Health Direct on 1800 022 222.
When do we come back for more vaccinations?

When your child is 18 months old, three age-specific vaccines are recommended. One is a combined MMRV vaccine to strengthen their immunity to measles, mumps and rubella, and to protect them from varicella (chickenpox). The other two vaccines (DTPa and Hib) strengthen their immunity against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and Hib. 

If your child has had an influenza vaccine for the first time, they will need a second dose four weeks later. After that, it is recommended that your child gets one dose of an influenza vaccine every year before influenza season.

It is important that children get vaccinated on time to make sure they are protected as early as possible.

What if I still have questions?

If you still have some questions about vaccinations for your child, write them down and make an appointment with your nurse, your doctor, or your health worker so you can ask them.

  1. Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). Australian Immunisation Handbook, Australian Government Department of Health, Canberra, 2018,