Why get immunised against rubella?

Rubella (also called German measles) is a viral infection that causes fever and a rash. It is a very serious disease for pregnant women because it can cause severe harm to unborn babies.

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from rubella.

By getting vaccinated against rubella, you can also help protect other people, especially people who are too sick or too young to be vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated in your community, the less likely the disease will spread.

Who should get immunised against rubella?

Anyone who wants to protect themselves against rubella can talk to their doctor about getting immunised.

Rubella immunisation is recommended for:

  • children aged 12 months and 18 months, for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP)
  • all women who are old enough to become pregnant, if they are not immune
  • women who have just had a baby, if they are not immune
  • everyone born during or since 1966, if they have not had 2 doses of the rubella vaccine.

People under 20 years old, refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age, can get rubella vaccines for free under the NIP. This is if they did not receive the vaccines in childhood. This is called catch-up vaccination.

Where can you get a rubella immunisation?

Rubella immunisations are available in each Australian state and territory.

See Where can I get immunised? for information.

How do you get immunised against rubella?

You can only get rubella vaccine as a combination vaccine. They are all given as a needle.

Rubella vaccines include:

Your doctor can tell you which vaccine they will use for your rubella immunisation.

Do I need to pay for rubella immunisation?

Vaccines covered by the NIP are free for people who are eligible. See the NIP Schedule to find out which vaccines you or your family are eligible to receive.

Eligible people get the vaccine for free, but your health care provider (for example, your doctor) may charge a consultation fee for the visit. You can check this when you make your appointment.

If you are not eligible for free vaccine, you may 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.

What are the possible side effects of rubella immunisation?

All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they’re not.

For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.

Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of rubella vaccines, or if you or your child have possible side effects that worry you.

Common side effects of rubella vaccines include:

  • fever
  • mild rash
  • feeling unwell

The Consumer Medicine Information links in How do you get immunised against rubella? list the side effects of each vaccine.

More information

Contacts

If you need advice or more information about immunisation, go to our Immunisation contacts page.

Last updated: 
1 August 2018