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Page last updated on 21 June 2022

Vaccination is a simple and effective way to lower your child’s chance of becoming seriously ill or hospitalised from vaccine-preventable diseases. By keeping your child up-to-date with their vaccinations, you’re also helping out the community by protecting the more vulnerable people from becoming infected.

Vaccinations listed in the National Immunisation Program (NIP) are free, and include vaccination at birth, two months, four months, six months, 12 months, and 18 months. The schedule then resumes at four years, and again at adolescence.

The vaccinations recommended for children at four years of age are polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). This is given as a single combined injection.

Commonly asked questions

What happens if my child misses a routine vaccine?

You can visit your healthcare practitioner or GP who will determine if your child requires a catch-up immunisation. This means your child may then follow a slightly different schedule to the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

How do I get a copy of my child’s immunisation history?

You can get a copy of your child’s Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). 

You can access this through the myGov website using your Medicare online account (Medicare linked service). Alternatively, you can give them a call and have them send it to you, on 1800 653 809 (may take up to 14 working days).

What are the risks of not vaccinating my child?

Without vaccination, your child is at risk of catching a vaccine-preventable disease. Unvaccinated children can spread vaccine-preventable diseases through their school or within their community. 

They may also infect people of any age who are unable to be fully immunised for medical reasons. This can include children or adults with leukemia/other cancers or people with weakened immune systems. They may also infect babies who are too young to be fully immunised.
 

What is “No Jab, No Pay”?

“No Jab, No Pay” is an Australian Government initiative to help ensure all children are fully immunised in line with the National Immunisation Program (NIP). 

Children must meet the immunisation requirements for Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A and Child Care Subsidy (CCS). Families need to ensure all children under 20 years of age are fully immunised in line with the NIP schedule or have a medical exemption recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

If your child has missed out on the recommended vaccines in the NIP, they are eligible to be vaccinated through a 'catch-up' program. For more information speak with your healthcare practitioner.

We are travelling overseas, what vaccines does my child need?

Vaccinations required or suggested for travel vary depending on the region being visited and activities you'll be doing. 

A consult with your healthcare practitioner or GP for a discussion around the destinations and activities planned will help you understand which vaccinations are required. Giving yourself at least 6 weeks to complete vaccinations before departure is recommended. This is because your body needs a bit of time after receiving vaccinations to build up full immunity. You may also require more than one dose for some vaccinations.

Don’t despair if you’ve left your travel health check-up until the last minute. You should still visit your doctor before you leave – it’s never too late to vaccinate.

My child was vaccinated overseas, do I need to vaccinate them again in Australia?

This will depend on what vaccinations your child has had overseas and if you are able to provide valid records of their vaccination/s. 

If the vaccination schedule of your home country differs greatly for the Australian Immunisation Schedule, or if valid records are not available for your child, then your healthcare practitioner or GP may recommend your child go through a catch-up schedule in order to be in line with the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
 

For more information, speak with your healthcare practitioner.

VaccineHub offers general information only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice

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Sources & Citations

  1. Australian Government. Department of Health. Why get immunised? Available at: https://campaigns.health.gov.au/immunisationfacts/why-get-immunised (accessed 27 May 2022).
  2. Australian Government. Department of Health. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/national-immunisation-program-schedule-portrait (accessed 27 May 2022).
  3. Australian Government. Department of Health. Catch-up immunisations. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/health-professionals/catch-up-immunisations (accessed 27 May 2022).
  4. Australian Government. Department of Human Services, Getting you Immunisation History Statement. Available at: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/australian-immunisation-register/how-get-immunisation-history-statement (accessed 27 May 2022).
  5. Immunization Action Coalition. What If You Don’t Vaccinate Your Child? Available at: www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4017.pdf (accessed 27 May 2022).
  6. NSW Government. NSW Health. No jab no pay immunisation requirements. Available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/immunisation/Pages/no-jab-no-pay.aspx (accessed 27 May 2022)
  7. Australian Government. Department of Health. Immunisation for travel. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/immunisation-for-travel (accessed 27 May 2022).
  8. The Australian Immunisation Handbook. Catch-up vaccination. Available at: https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/catch-up-vaccination (accessed 27 May 2022).

MAT-AU-2201302(v1.0)  Date of preparation June 2022

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