Free RSV immunisations

From 15 April 2024, newborn babies can get a free RSV immunisation in Queensland birthing hospitals.

Your baby or infant will get the immunisation if they:

  • were born on or after 1 February 2024, up until less than 8 months
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants, up until than 8 months
  • have certain complex medical conditions, up until less than 8 months
  • have certain complex medical conditions and are between 8 months up to 19 months (inclusive), until 31 October 2024.

If your infant wasn’t immunised in hospital, or they’re eligible for a catch up, they can get it through a GP or another immunisation service provider.

What is RSV?

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a highly contagious viral infection that infects your upper airways and lungs.

It can also cause severe respiratory illnesses, including bronchiolitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.

Who’s at risk?

People most at risk of serious RSV disease include:

  • infants under 12 months, especially 6 months and under
  • children under 2 with medical conditions such as chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease
  • children under 2 years who were born early or with a low birth weight
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants and young children.

Older children, adolescents and adults can still get RSV, but it’s less common for them to get a severe illness.

RSV is the most common cause of babies and young children needing care in hospital. Most children have at least one RSV infection before they turn 2.

Signs and symptoms

You’ll usually get symptoms 3 to 10 days after getting infected and may have:

  • a fever
  • a cough
  • a runny nose
  • wheezing or noisy breathing.

Babies and children may also:

  • be irritable or tired
  • not want to breast or bottle feed
  • lose weight
  • have fast breathing or need to work hard to breathe.

Coughing from RSV can last up to 4 weeks and make asthma symptoms worse.

How it spreads

RSV is very infectious and is easily spread from coughing or sneezing. You can also get it from touching contaminated objects or surfaces, and unwashed.

Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces will kill the virus, which can live outside the body for several hours.

It’s best to stay at home if you have RSV. If your baby or child has RSV, keep them home from school or childcare until their symptoms go to stop the virus spreading.

Using good hygiene will also help stop the virus spreading.

Prevention and immunisation

Immunisation is the best way to protect your newborn baby from RSV and gives them antibodies to protect them from the virus straight away.

Where to get the immunisation

Your newborn baby can be immunised in hospital before they go home. They can also have it at the same time as other routine vaccines and injections.

If your newborn baby hasn’t been immunised in hospital, they can get it later from their routine immunisation provider, up until 8 months of age.


There’s no specific treatment for RSV and you'll usually start feeling better in about 2 weeks.

It can help to:

  • rest and drink plenty fluids, such as water, to avoid dehydration
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve a high temperature.

Some children and young babies may need to go to hospital for monitoring, extra fluids and oxygen.

When to get help

Get medical help if you or your child have trouble breathing.

In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

If you're not sure whether to go to an emergency department, call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or see your GP if you’re:

  • worried about symptoms you or your child have
  • in a high risk group.

Find out more

For more information about the immunisation program:

Need help in your language?

Call 1800 512 451 and ask for an interpreter.

Last updated: April 2024