Vaccination rules for children travelling to and from Australia

Posted: 21 February 2022 10:08 am

Check the requirements before you book travel with your family.

Preparing to travel overseas but worried about what the rules are for children who may not be vaccinated? You're not alone.

Doing your research before you travel is the best place to start so you're not caught unawares.

Children's travel checklist before you leave

  • Entry requirements: Does the country you're travelling to require children to be vaccinated or to have a COVID-19 test?
  • Coming home: What are the rules for your children when you return to Australia?
  • Vaccinations: Are your child's vaccination certificates recognised, do you need them certified or translated?

Vaccination requirements for children travelling from Australia

Before you book flights it's important to check the rules for children with both the airline and foreign government of the country you're travelling to.

All the vaccines used widely for vaccination in Australia are also recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) but it's important to double check that they're accepted where you're going.

The WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts has determined that:

  • The Pfizer vaccine is safe to be used for people aged 5 and above.
  • The Moderna vaccine is safe to be used for people aged 12 and above.

Because access to vaccines is varied you may find the country you wish to travel to requires children aged 5 and above to be vaccinated but you may not have had the opportunity to have your children vaccinated yet.

It's your responsibility to check the rules and you don't want to face being turned around along with your kids at the border.

See which countries are open to travellers from Australia.

For example, children under the age of 18 travelling to the United Kingdom are considered fully vaccinated for travel regardless of their vaccination status but when travelling to Thailand, it depends on which entry scheme you're using. Children under the age of 12 (if travelling quarantine free) or under the age of 18 (if travelling in a blue zone) are not required to be vaccinated.

Vaccination requirements for children travelling to Australia

Just as with adults, there are no restrictions on children leaving the country but there are rules in place regarding their return.

According to the Australian Government children under the age of 12 can access the same travel arrangements as fully vaccinated travellers.

Unvaccinated children aged between 12 and 17 are also exempt from international passenger caps due to the age of eligibility for vaccination varying around the world and to avoid splitting families up when they enter Australia.

However, nothing is ever that simple when it comes to Australia's border rules. While states and territories are allowing unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children between 12-17 years of age to travel into the country (if accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult) the rules differ state by state, with most requiring quarantine at home.

In all cases, passports will be used as proof of age.

See the rules for children (between 12 and 17) travelling to Australia by state:

Note: Double check the rules before you travel as they're subject to change.

When are children considered unvaccinated?

It will vary by country when travelling overseas but on your return to Australia children are considered unvaccinated if they are:

  • Aged 12 to 17 and have not received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Aged 12 to 17 and have only received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine recognised in Australia
  • Aged 12 to 17 and have been either partially or fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine that is not recognised in Australia

Make sure you have your proof of vaccination documents on hand and check if they're valid in the country you're travelling to.

Which vaccines are approved and recognised in Australia?

2 doses at least 14 days apart of:

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
  • AstraZeneca Covishield
  • Pfizer/Biotech Comirnaty
  • Moderna Spikevax or Takeda
  • Sinovac Coronavac
  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin
  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for people under 60 years of age on arrival in Australia)
  • Gamaleya Research Institute Sputnik V
  • Novavax/Biocelect Nuvaxovid.

Or 1 dose of:

  • Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine

Looking for family holiday packages? See our guide.

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