TBE vaccination can offer effective protection from becoming infected with the virus.

Not every tick is infected with TBE, but it is not possible to identify whether one is infected or not. Frequently getting ticks does not mean you are immune to the disease. Effective protection from TBE is offered by vaccination. It is however only preventative and does not work after you have been bitten. For this reason, protection via the vaccination should be built up in good time.1

Zecke nahaufnahme
Frau in Natur, Mann im Hintergrund

How can I protect myself from TBE?

With vaccinations (e.g. against TBE) the body is given weakened or inactivated pathogens that cause the relevant disease or just parts of them. This simulates an infection, and the immune system responds by forming antibodies, which then offer protection from illness. If you then come across the pathogen again (this time the real one), your antibodies react immediately, preventing the disease from the outset.2

Thanks to TBE vaccination, there have been far fewer cases in recent years than before it was introduced. As a result, people are often no longer sufficiently aware of the consequences of infection with the TBE virus. They may fall seriously ill with the disease, which may leave patients with lasting harm. To deal with the virus, the body must first build up a basic level of protection. For this reason, three vaccinations are administered over a certain period of time.3

Initial vaccination:
Basic immunisation4

The Austrian vaccination plan issued by the country’s Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection generally recommends vaccinating infants against TBE from the age of one.

1st partial vaccination:
Preferably administered in the winter months to ensure protection when ticks become active.

2nd partial vaccination:
1 to 3 months after the 1st partial vaccination, also preferably in winter.

3rd partial vaccination:
5 or 9 to 12 months (depending on the vaccine used) after the 2nd partial vaccination.

Booster vaccination4

The first booster jab is required after a period of three years.

From then on, TBE vaccination is repeated with a booster every five years until the age of 60.

After that every three years as our immune system becomes weaker with age.4

Icon (alle 3 Jahre)

What side effects can the vaccination have?5

Vaccination against TBE is generally well tolerated. Like all vaccinations, it may however be followed by temporary localised reactions (e.g. pain, reddening and swelling at the site of administration). This may also be accompanied by fatigue, headache, pain in the muscles or joints, nausea, a feeling of being unwell or a raised temperature. Such reactions are however a sign that the immune system is responding to the vaccination and building up effective protection.

Your doctor or a pharmacist will be pleased to provide you with precise information about the possible response to TBE vaccination and any undesirable side effects. The vaccination against the disease can be basically administered throughout the year.

Einstichstelle wird mit Pflaster geschützt
Termin vorgemerkt im Kalender für die FSME Impfung, Internationaler Impfpass

Fast vaccination protection

If ticks are becoming active and you haven’t yet been vaccinated, it is recommended building up your vaccination protection fast. Shorter vaccination programmes are available, depending on the vaccine used – just ask your doctor about this.4,5

It should generally be expected that vaccinations will be less successful as you become older (from around the age of 50 - 60 years depending on the individual), with the extent and duration of the protection offered here decreasing with age. This above all applies to initial vaccinations, and booster jabs may therefore be necessary after a shorter interval. People also become more susceptible to pathogens causing disease as they get older.6

Bitten by a tick! Not fully vaccinated or not at all?

If you haven’t kept to the recommended vaccination intervals, you may not have adequate protection here. But not every tick bite means you’ll fall ill with TBE. If you have never had a TBE vaccination or you missed getting your last booster jab, your doctor will have to decide how to proceed.4

Zeckenstich in Nahaufnahme
  1. Dobler G, Erber W, Bröker M, Schmitt HJ, eds. The TBE Book. 4th ed. 2021. Singapore: Global Health Press; 2021
  2. https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/leben/gesundheitsvorsorge/impfungen/impfschutz.html. Last accessed on 16.01.2024
  3. https://www.sozialministerium.at/Themen/Gesundheit/Uebertragbare-Krankheiten/Infektionskrankheiten-A-Z/. Last accessed on 16.01.2024
  4. Austrian vaccination plan 2023/2024
  5. „TBE-IMMUN 0,5 ml Erwachsene“ information leaflet, status June 2021; „ENCEPUR 0,5 ml“ information leaflet, status May 2023
  6. www.gesundheit.gv.at/leben/gesundheitsvorsorge/impfungen/impfungen-erwachsene. Last accessed on 16.01.2024

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