Childhood Immunisation: Child being Vaccinated

Vaccinations for children

Everything you need to know about getting your children immunised.

Immunisation is a safe and easy way to protect your children against a wide range of harmful diseases that can cause serious health issues and potentially death. Vaccines are designed to help your child stay healthy and enjoy the best possible start to life, which is something every parent wants.

To help you keep track of the vaccinations your child has been given, the Australian Government established the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). This national register records vaccinations given to Australians of all ages and makes it easy to manage your child’s immunisation schedule.

Looking for health insurance? Compare your options online or with help from an adviser.

Features of the AIR include:

  • Children and young adults under 20 years of age who are enrolled in Medicare are automatically included on the Immunisation Register.
  • Parents of children under 14 years of age can get a copy of their child’s immunisation history at any time for an update on the vaccinations their child has been given or still needs to receive.
  • Children and young adults 14 years or older can get a copy of their own immunisation record at any time.
  • You can check your child’s (or your own) immunisation history statement at any time by using your Medicare online account through myGov, or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.
  • Vaccination providers can use the AIR to check a patient’s vaccination history.
  • Your child’s vaccination history can be used as proof of immunisation for child care and school enrolments.
  • Most immunisations are linked to family assistance payments.
  • The AIR helps health professionals track immunisation levels in Australia.

What’s my child’s vaccine schedule?

Not sure which vaccinations your child needs to receive and when? The below table outlines the National Immunisation Program Schedule.

If your child misses a vaccination, your doctor or immunisation provider can help you work out a catch-up schedule to get your child back on track. Under the Australian Government’s Immunise Australia Program:

  • Kids under 10 years of age can be vaccinated for free
  • From 1 January 2016 until the end of 2017, kids 10 or older can be vaccinated for free
Child programs
Birth
  • Hepatitis B (HepB)
2 months
  • Hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b, inactivated poliomyelitis (polio) (hepB-DTPa-Hib-IPV)
  • Pneumococcal conjugate (13vPCV)
  • Rotavirus
4 months
  • Hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b, inactivated poliomyelitis (polio) (hepB-DTPa-Hib-IPV)
  • Pneumococcal conjugate (13vPCV)
  • Rotavirus
6 months
  • Hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b, inactivated poliomyelitis (polio) (hepB-DTPa-Hib-IPV)
  • Pneumococcal conjugate (13vPCV)
  • Rotavirus b
12 months
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b and meningococcal C (Hib-MenC)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
18 months
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) (DTPa)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox) (MMRV)
4 years
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough) and inactivated poliomyelitis (polio) (DTPa-IPV)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) (to be given only if MMRV vaccine was not given at 18 months)
School programs
10-15 years
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (whooping cough) (dTpa)

Contact your state or territory health department for details on which vaccinations are given at which grade levels.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
12-18 months (in high-risk areas)Pneumococcal conjugate (13vPCV)
12-24 months (in high-risk areas)Hepatitis A
6 months to less than 5 yearsInfluenza (flu)
15 years and over
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide (23vPPV) (medically at risk)
50 years and overPneumococcal polysaccharide (23vPPV)

Is immunisation mandatory?

From 1 January 2016, Australian parents who don't fully immunise their children (up to 19 years of age) won't be eligible for a range of family assistance payments including the Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and the Family Tax Benefit Part A end of year supplement. This so-called “No Jab, No Pay” legislation means that conscientious objection and vaccination objection on non-medical grounds are no longer accepted as valid exemption from immunisation requirements.

However, kids with medical contraindications or natural immunity for certain diseases are still exempt from the immunisation requirements.

How do I pay for vaccinations?

Most essential vaccines are free in Australia and covered by the National Immunisation Program. The National Immunisation Program Schedule lists 16 infectious diseases against which your child can be vaccinated for free.

Free vaccinations are available for the following diseases:

  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Hepatitis B
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough
  • Polio
  • Hib
  • Rotavirus
  • Chickenpox
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Meningococcal C
  • Influenza
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Hepatitis A (in certain circumstances)

Who might not need to be vaccinated?

There are some specific circumstances where it is unsafe for a person to be vaccinated. These can include:

  • If the person has a severe or life-threatening allergy to a component of the vaccine
  • If the person is pregnant or nursing a child
  • If the person does not meet certain age requirements
  • If the person is suffering from vomiting or diarrhoea at the time the vaccination is due to be administered, or is simply not feeling well
  • If the person has HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system

Ask your vaccination provider about the situations and circumstances where it is not safe to get a specific vaccine.

Australian immunisation FAQ

How does immunisation work?

  • When a person is given a vaccine, their body produces an immune response to the vaccine just as it would when infected with a disease, but without the person suffering any symptoms of the disease. As a result, if the person comes in contact with the same disease in the future, their immune system will respond quickly enough to prevent them contracting the disease.

Are vaccines safe?

  • Yes. All vaccines approved for use in Australia must first undergo stringent safety testing by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Where can I get vaccinated?

  • Vaccines included in the National Immunisation Program can be obtained from recognised immunisation providers such as GPs and nurses at local councils and community health clinics.

How long do immunisations last?

  • Some immunisations can offer protection against a disease for as long as 30 years. However, the length of effectiveness varies depending on the vaccine. For example, influenza immunisation is needed annually due to the regular changes in the type of flu virus present in the community.

Are there any side effects?

  • Some children will experience some very minor side effects after being given a vaccination, such as soreness and swelling at the injection site, mild fever and unsettled behaviour. However, serious reactions are rare – consult your doctor immediately if they occur.

Should parents be immunised?

  • Yes. Parents, grandparents and other people who come into contact with young children could be carrying common childhood infections, so they should be vaccinated against these diseases. Ask your doctor or immunisation provider for more information on what you should be immunised for.

What sort of vaccinations do I need to get before I travel overseas?

  • If you’re planning an overseas holiday, visit your GP well in advance of your planned travel dates to find out what vaccinations you need to receive before travelling. You can also find out more information about vaccinations and overseas travel in our handy guide.

Compare your options and get a quote today

Details Features
High 65 / 75 / 85% - $0/$250/$500 Excess
High 65 / 75 / 85% - $0/$250/$500 Excess
Combines High Hospital Cover with its highest level of extras cover.
  • Cover starting from $44.74 weekly
  • 12 month waiting period for pregnancy
  • 65% back on extras
  • Choice of $0, $250 and $500 excess
Enquire Now More info
Premier Package
Premier Package
Top tier combined hospital and extras policy that covers you for an extensive range of hospital and general treatment services.
  • All the benefits of HCI's Premier Hospital policy
  • All the benefits of HCI's Premier Extras policy
  • Cover for pregnancy and IVF treatment
  • Cover for general and major dental
Get Quote More info
Deluxe flexi
Deluxe flexi
Deluxe flexi provides cover for a range of treatments including hip replacement, spinal fusion, dialysis and major eye surgery.
  • No excess for kids
  • All joint replacements
  • Major eye surgery
  • Rehabilitation
Enquire Now More info
GoldStar
GoldStar
Premium hospital cover with complete cover for hospital expenses. Save 4% when you pay for 12 months of your cover upfront.
  • All theatre fees covered
  • Unlimited maternity cover
  • Choose no excess or $200, $400, $500 per admission
Get Quote More info
Smart Combination
Smart Combination
Smart combination provides a high level of cover for both hospital and extras.
  • Claim up to $2725 back on extras
  • Hip and knee replacements
  • General and major dental
  • Physio
Enquire Now More info
Prestige
Prestige
Highest level of combined cover offered by CBHS. Includes the same benefits as Comprehensive Hospital and Top Extras plus more. Restricted fund: Only current or former staff (and their families) of Commonwealth Bank Group and their subsidiaries which include Aussie, Bankwest, Colonial First State and more can join.
  • No excess or co-payments on hospital cover
  • Non-student dependent under 25 can be kept on policy
  • Access to Chronic Disease Management Programs
  • Widest range of extras including orthodontics
Enquire Now More info
Bronze Hospital (no pregnancy) and Bronze Extras Set Benefits
Bronze Hospital (no pregnancy) and Bronze Extras Set Benefits
High level of hospital cover and extras cover for a range of popular services including knee and should reconstructions.
  • Most comprehensive hospital options
  • Cover for general and major dental
  • Shared or single room in a private hospital
  • Intensive and coronary care
Enquire Now More info
Premium Hospital and Silver Extras Cover
Premium Hospital and Silver Extras Cover
Comprehensive hospital cover including pregnancy cover. Also included affordable mid-level extras cover for dental, optical and therapies.
  • Cover from $39.50 per week
  • Pregnancy and birth-related services cover
  • Heart surgery cover
  • 100% cash back on two dental check per year
Enquire Now More info
Top Hospital with Top Extras
Top Hospital with Top Extras
Get comprehensive hospital and extras cover and tailor your policy to your needs.
  • Pregnancy and birth services cover
  • Back surgery cover
  • $1000 general dental annual limit
  • $600 physiotherapy annual limit
Enquire Now More info
Young Couples Combined Cover
Young Couples Combined Cover
Mid-level hospital and basic level Extras package with an excess for young, healthy couples that are not quite ready to start a family.
  • Emergency ambulance cover
  • Cancer-related surgery cover
  • 70% back on extras
  • $300 dental annual limit per person
Enquire Now More info

Picture: Shutterstock

Richard Laycock

Richard is the senior insurance writer at finder.com.au and is on a mission to make insurance easier to understand.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At finder.com.au we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to finder.com.au and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question
feedback