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The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is safe and effective for people aged 2 months and older. Vaccination is recommended for those at the highest risk of catching Japanese encephalitis.

Once fully vaccinated, it can take between 2 to 4 weeks for your body to develop a protective immune response to the disease, so if you’re eligible, you should get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Who is eligible for a free Japanese encephalitis virus vaccination

In NSW, a free Japanese encephalitis virus vaccination is available for people aged 2 months or older who live or routinely work in any of the below Local Government Areas and:

  • regularly spend time outdoors placing them at risk of mosquito bites, or
  • are experiencing homelessness, or
  • are living in conditions with limited mosquito protection (e.g. tents, caravans, dwellings with no insect screens), or
  • are engaging in outdoor flood recovery (clean-up) efforts, including repeated professional or volunteer deployments.

LGAs of high JEV concern

  • Albury
  • Balranald
  • Berrigan
  • Bland
  • Bogan
  • Bourke
  • Brewarrina
  • Broken Hill
  • Cabonne
  • Cootamundra-Gundagai
  • Cowra
  • Carrathool
  • Central Darling
  • Cobar
  • Coolamon
  • Coonamble
  • Dubbo Regional
  • Edward River
  • Federation
  • Forbes
  • Gilgandra
  • Goulburn Mulwaree
  • Greater Hume
  • Griffith
  • Gunnedah
  • Gwydir
  • Hay
  • Hilltops
  • ​​
  • Inverell
  • Junee
  • Lachlan
  • Leeton
  • Liverpool Plains
  • Lockhart
  • Mid-Western
  • Moree Plains
  • Murray River
  • Murrumbidgee
  • Orange
  • Narrabri
  • Narrandera
  • Narromine
  • Parkes
  • Tamworth
  • Temora
  • Tenterfield
  • Unincorporated Far West Area
  • Upper Hunter
  • Upper Lachlan
  • Wagga Wagga
  • Walgett
  • Warren
  • Warrumbungle
  • Weddin
  • Wentworth

A free JEV vaccination is also recommended for people who live in any part of NSW and:

  • work, live, or are visiting a:
    • piggery, including farm workers and their families (including children aged 2 months and older) living at the piggery, pig transport workers, veterinarians (including veterinary students and nurses) and others involved in the care of pigs
    • pork abattoir or pork rendering plant.
  • work directly with mosquitoes through their surveillance (field or laboratory based) or control and management, and indirectly through management of vertebrate mosquito-borne disease surveillance systems (e.g., sentinel animals) such as:
    • environmental health officers and workers (urban and remote)
    • entomologists.
  • all diagnostic and research laboratory workers who may be exposed to the virus, such as people working with JEV cultures or mosquitoes with the potential to transmit JEV; as per the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

Japanese encephalitis vaccination information

There are two safe and effective JEV vaccines:

  • Imojev : one dose vaccine available for use in people aged 9 months and older.
  • JEspect / Ixiaro: two doses for use in infants and children aged ≥2 months and older, including people who are immunocompromised, and pregnant women.

For more information on the available JEV vaccines, visit the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

How to get Japanese encephalitis vaccination

If you are eligible for a free JEV vaccine, speak to your General Practitioner (GP), pharmacist or Aboriginal Medical Service about getting vaccinated today.

People who meet the above criteria should make an appointment with their GP, pharmacist or Aboriginal Medical Service and let them know it is for the Japanese encephalitis vaccine as they may require a few days' notice to order the vaccine.

Some providers may charge an administration or consultation fee. Be sure to check if this applies to you.

Current approach to vaccination in NSW

NSW Health has secured a limited supply of JE vaccines. Supply to Australia is limited by global ordering constraints.

Vaccines are available to order from the State Vaccine Centre strictly for administration to people who are eligible as outlined above.​

​​Frequently asked questions​

  • Most people who are fully vaccinated do not require a booster dose. It is recommended that you speak with your GP if it has been a few years since getting a JEV vaccine.

    Depending on which brand of vaccine you received, you may be required to get a booster. If you don’t know which vaccine you received, your GP can do a blood test to check if you still have evidence of protection.

  • More than 95% of people develop a protective immune response to the virus by about 28 days after completing the primary vaccination schedule.

    Vaccinated people should still take measures to avoid mosquito bites, as not all mosquito-borne diseases have a vaccine available to prevent infection.​

  • If you are pregnant and are at increased risk of exposure to JEV, you should get vaccinated with the JEspect JEV vaccine. No adverse outcomes of pregnancy have been attributed to vaccination with JEspect.

    Infection with JEV during the first and second trimesters has been associated with miscarriage, so it's recommended pregnant women are vaccinated against JEV if they are at risk of infection.

  • The JEV vaccine is safe, effective and has been used extensively over many years in Australian Defence Force personnel, residents of the Torres Strait Islands and travellers to southeast Asia.

    As with most vaccinations, there are some common side effects. Common side effects of JEV vaccines are:

    • pain
    • tenderness
    • redness
    • swelling where the vaccine was given.

    Fever may occur, more often in children. Headache or muscle aches can also occur, mainly in adults. These side effects usually go away within a few days.

    Severe reactions to JEV vaccine are very rare. As with any medicine, there is a very small chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction.​

  • Existing supply of JEV vaccines in Australia are limited. If you are not someone who is at highest risk of infection with JEV (identified above), then you are not eligible for a free JEV vaccine. If you're unsure, speak to your GP.

    The JEV vaccine is also recommended for travellers spending a month or more in areas where JE infection is common during mosquito activity seasons, including areas in Asia, Papua New Guinea or the outer islands of Torres Strait. People who want to receive a JEV vaccine for travel purposes can pay to receive one through GPs and pharmacy.​

Current as at: Tuesday 28 November 2023
Contact page owner: Communicable Diseases