Recommended vaccinations for those under the age of two

Up-to-date information on the free vaccination programme for all children living in Austria up to the age of 15, vaccination against measles/mumps/rubella, vaccination against rotavirus diseases (diarrhoea with vomiting), six-in-one vaccine, etc.

General information

Vaccination is one of the most important preventive actions, particularly for children. Only those who are vaccinated are protected. Vaccinations should be administered as early as possible. Any missed vaccinations should be given as soon as possible, in line with the recommendations for the relevant age.

Vaccinations are not mandatory in Austria. The decision as to whether or not to be vaccinated lies with the individual themselves or with the person responsible for the child’s care and upbringing. In order to make the decision, information and clarification from the doctor is required. Before the vaccination is given, doctors must therefore provide the recipient of the vaccine (or, if the child is under 14, a parent or person responsible for the child’s care and upbringing) with information about the disease to be prevented.

Only when as many people as possible are vaccinated can herd immunity be ensured. This means that people that are not vaccinated – such as newborns or people with certain impairments to the body’s defence system (immune system) – can also be indirectly protected.

The free national vaccination programme is therefore intended to give all children below 15 years of age living in Austria access to those vaccinations that are important to public health without those persons entitled to bring up a child incurring any cost.
The free vaccination programme is implemented by the federal provinces, with slight variations in how it is organised from province to province. Before vaccination, you should find out from the Advisory and vaccination centres of the federal provinces (→ Austrian health portal)German text where and how you can take part in the free vaccination programme. It is not possible to subsequently reimburse costs for vaccinations that have already been paid for or carried out.

Only a defined budget is available in each case to those bearing the costs (Austrian Federal Ministry for Social, Health, Care and Consumer Protection) for the free vaccination programme and its implementation. Although this budget have been increased on a continual basis and the procurement processes have been optimised, the funds are not sufficient for the public authorities to provide all available and important vaccinations. Information on further recommended vaccinations that are not available free of charge can be found in the current vaccination plan and should be discussed with the doctor administering your vaccination.

The Austrian Federal Ministry for Social, Health, Care and Consumer Protection recommends the following vaccinations, which are offered as part of the free vaccination programme, for children under the age of 2:

Advice

Further information on recommended vaccinations and the diseases to be prevented can be found in the further links. Should you have any questions about the individual vaccinations or the vaccine recommendations, please consult your vaccinating doctor. Please bring any vaccine records you may have (vaccination record, vaccination card) to the intended vaccination appointment!

Vaccination against rotavirus diseases (diarrhoea with vomiting)

Who/when?

This oral vaccination is administered after the child is 6 weeks old in two or three separate vaccinations (depending on the vaccine used). The minimum interval between the doses is 4 weeks. The series of vaccinations is to be completed by the age of 24 weeks at the latest for two doses, and by 32 weeks for three doses.

An infection with a rotavirus can lead to severe diarrhoea with vomiting. The dangerous factor here is possible dehydration, and infants and small children may even die from this if they do not receive the appropriate treatment.

Caution

Further vaccinations or boosters are not recommended for this vaccination after the child is 24 or 32 weeks old. The vaccine is only intended for this age group.

Six-in-one vaccination against diphtheria, lockjaw, whooping cough, polio, haemophilus influenzae B and hepatitis B

Who/when?

In the third, fifth and twelfth month of the child’s life, vaccination with a six-in-one vaccine against diphtheria, lockjaw (tetanus),whooping cough (pertussis), polio (poliomyelitis) and invasive haemophilus influenzae type B and hepatitis B are recommended.

Advice

Children aged 7 to 9 are given a booster vaccination at school with a four-in-one vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio. After the booster at school, a vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio is recommended every 10 years and every 5 years after the age of 60. After a minimum of two booster vaccinations against polio at adult age, further booster vaccinations with a three-in-one vaccine (diphtheria/lockjaw/whooping cough) are sufficient.

After basic immunisation for infants/small children, an additional booster vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended between the ages of 7 and 15.

Vaccination against pneumococci

Who/when?

This vaccine is recommended for all children and is included in the free vaccination programme for those under the age of two. Vaccines should be administered in the third, fifth and twelfth month of the child’s life.

Further boosters against pneumococci are not intended for healthy children. For children with health risks, the vaccination is free until the age of 5. This concerns, for example, children with congenital or acquired immunodeficiencies, children with certain chronic illnesses or children without a spleen.

Pneumococci (Streptococcus pneumoniae) are bacteria that occur worldwide and have different strains (serotypes). As well as lung inflammation, these also cause blood poisoning and meningitis.

Advice

Blood poisoning and meningitis can be fatal or cause lasting consequential damage.

Vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella

Who/when?

Two vaccinations are recommended once the child has reached the age of 9 months. If the first vaccination is given in the first year, the second vaccination should be administered after 3 months. If the first vaccination is given after the first year, the second vaccination should be administered as soon as possible with a minimum gap of 4 weeks.

If not administered, the vaccination can and should be given at a later date at any time, even at adult age, and is currently available for free at public vaccination centres for people of all ages.

After two vaccinations with a live vaccine against measles, mumps, rubella, long-term protection (immunity) can be assumed and no further vaccinations are recommended.

Measles are highly infectious and can have serious consequences for infants and children as well as for young people and adults! Flu-like symptoms with high fever and the usual measles rash occur, and the immune system is so severely weakened by measles as a result of the illness that the risk of dying from other infectious diseases is increased for several years. In one in five cases, the disease can have consequences such as middle ear infection, diarrhoea, lung inflammation or seizures. The frequency of inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) is 1 to 2 per 1 000 reported measles infections; this leads to impaired consciousness and can even result in coma. A quarter of these cases are fatal, while a third of survivors suffer lasting, severe consequential damage.

Caution

The worst complications for measles affect those children that are infected during their first year. For this reason, it is important that all persons in the immediate environment of these children are protected against measles.

Since this is a live vaccine, vaccination in the event of existing immunity or following previous vaccinations is no problem as, in this case, the viruses are prevented from propagating so it is not possible to over-innoculate.

Anyone that is not sufficiently vaccinated against measles can be barred from visiting community facilities (kindergarten, school, day care centre, etc.) by the health authorities for up to 21 days, if they have had contact with a person who is infected with measles.

Flu jabs

Who/when?

Flu jabs are recommended for all children and young people. In the 2020/21 season, children between the ages of 6 months and 15 years will be eligible for the free vaccination scheme for the first time.

Influenza viruses are constantly evolving. As a result, you need to be vaccinated against the flu every year using a modified vaccine. The best time to get your annual flu jab is from the end of October until mid-November. However, you can also have one earlier or later, even if people are already starting to catch the flu.

The first time children under the age of 8 or 9 (depending on the vaccine) receive a flu jab, they should receive a second dose after four weeks if sufficient amounts of the vaccine are available. After that, it is recommended that they get a flu jab each year before the start of flu season in autumn/winter. Children over the age of 2 can be vaccinated using a nasal spray that is administered painlessly.

Flu is more than just a common cold; it typically also causes you to feel extremely unwell, with symptoms including fever, muscle pain, intense headaches, a severely sore throat and often a painful cough. You may also experience diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. On average, influenza is responsible for more than 1000 deaths a year in Austria. Even children can get very ill and sometimes even die as a result of catching the flu.

Vaccination is the best protection against the flu. There are usually no side effects to having a flu jab, and it will ultimately stop you from having to withdraw from your private, working and social life for long periods. In exceptional circumstances, people who have been vaccinated may still catch the flu, but they often experience milder symptoms and a shorter period of illness, suffer fewer health consequences, and are less likely to have to go into hospital.

Advice

Children play an important role in the transmission of the flu. As a result, vaccinating children can prevent people of all ages from catching it. Vaccination prevents transmission and therefore indirectly protects people who cannot have a flu jab.

Further links

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 24 June 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection