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.
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
free JEV vaccination is also recommended for people who live in any part of NSW and:
There are two safe and effective JEV vaccines:
For more information on the available JEV vaccines, visit the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
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.
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.
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:
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.