Age Birth <2 2-3 4-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59 60-64 >65
Immunisation is recommended from birth for all children, and at particular ages throughout life, according to the Australian immunisation handbook (this is updated regularly).
Consent should be sought from someone with legal capacity before each vaccination. The individual providing consent should have the intellectual capacity to understand specific information and agree voluntarily without pressure, coercion or manipulation. The consent process should include written advice about benefits and harms of the vaccines, risk of not having the vaccine, and what to do after receiving the vaccine.
Information on providing valid consent is available within the Australian Immunisation handbook.
The National Immunisation Program Schedule (NIPS) lists the recommended funded vaccines for all Australian residents. There may be other vaccines that are not funded but are recommended in the Australian immunisation handbook, depending on occupation or travel. There may be variability in vaccines recommended/funded (eg hepatitis A vaccine).
Vaccination for special high-risk groups
Adults or children who develop asplenia, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or a haematological malignancy, or who have received a bone marrow or other transplant, may not be fit for some vaccinations, or may require additional or repeat vaccinations.
What are the key equity issues and who is at risk?
GPs need to be aware of groups with lower levels of age-appropriate immunisation.3 Socioeconomic characteristics associated with lower immunisation rates at 12 months4 include:
- being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- being born overseas
- no private health insurance
- being in the highest or lowest socioeconomic quintile
- being of low birth weight and singleton birth.
All of these factors were also associated with lower immunisation coverage at 24 months, with the exception of low birth weight, which was only significant in the very low birth weight category.
What can GPs do?
Evidence supports a number of strategies in improving immunisation rates that could reduce inequities if efforts were focused on at-risk groups:
- audit of immunisation coverage of at-risk groups in the practice
- use of recall-and-reminder systems and catch-up plans, with a focus on at-risk groups
- integrating vaccination status checks into routine health assessments for those target population groups.
Immunisation information resources include:
Notification of adverse events
The reporting of adverse events following vaccinations varies geographically. It is possible to report directly to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) from anywhere in Australia or by telephone on 1800 044 114
- Ward K, Chow MYK, King C, Leask J. Strategies to improve vaccination uptake in Australia, a systematic review of types and effectiveness. Aust N Z J Public Health 2012;36(4):369–77.
- Haynes K, Stone C. Predictors of incomplete immunisation in Victorian children. Aust N Z J Public Health 2004;28(1):72–79.