Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of the 18 kDa translocator protein (TSPO), which is upregulated in activated microglia, is a method for investigating whether immune activation is evident in the brain of adults with schizophrenia. This study aimed to measure TSPO availability in the largest patient group to date, and to compare it between patients with recent onset (ROS) and established (ES) schizophrenia. In total, 20 ROS patients (14 male), 21 ES (13 male), and 21 healthy controls completed the study. Patients were predominantly antipsychotic-medicated. Participants underwent a PET scan using the TSPO-specific radioligand [11C](R)-PK11195. The primary outcome was binding potential (BPND) in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Secondary outcomes were BPND in six other regions. Correlations were investigated between TSPO availability and symptom severity. Data showed that mean BPND was higher in older (ES and controls) compared with younger (ROS and controls) individuals, but did not significantly differ between ROS or ES and their respective age-matched controls (ACC; ANOVA main effect of diagnosis: F1,58 = 0.407, p = 0.526). Compared with controls, BPND was lower in antipsychotic-free (n = 6), but not in medicated, ROS patients. BPND in the ES group was negatively correlated with positive symptoms, and positively correlated with negative symptom score. Our data suggest ageing is associated with higher TSPO but a diagnosis of schizophrenia is not. Rather, subnormal TSPO levels in drug-free recent-onset patients may imply impaired microglial development and/or function, which is counteracted by antipsychotic treatment. The development of novel radioligands for specific immune-mechanisms is needed for further clarification.