Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem?

Call 1800 022 222

healthdirect Australia

This is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Is it an emergency? Dial 000

If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

Immunisation for your child is important not only for them but others in the community.

Immunisation for your child is important not only for them but others in the community.
beginning of content

Immunisation for your child

Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting children against certain diseases. The risks of these diseases are far greater than the very small risks of immunisation.

Immunisation protects children (and adults) against harmful infections before they come into contact with them in the community.

It uses the body’s natural defence mechanism - the immune response - to build resistance to specific infections and helps children stay healthy by preventing serious infections.

Vaccines for babies and young children are funded under the National Immunisation Program.

In Australia, babies and children are immunised against the following diseases:

Some children should have the flu vaccine each autumn. Children aged 12 to 13 should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) through their schools.

Most vaccines recommended in the program are given by injection. Some combine several vaccines in the one injection.

Learn more about the difference between vaccination and immunisation.

A copy of the immunisation schedule is available at Immunise Australia's website www.immunise.health.gov.au.

Why do children get so many immunisations?

A number of immunisations are required in the first few years of a child’s life to protect the child against the most serious childhood infectious diseases. The immune system in young children does not work as well as the immune system in older children and adults, because it is still immature. Therefore more doses of the vaccine are needed.

In the first months of life, a baby is protected from most infectious diseases by antibodies from their mother which are transferred to the baby during pregnancy. When these antibodies wear off, the baby is at risk of serious infections and so the first immunisations are given before these antibodies have gone.

Another reason why children get many immunisations is that new vaccines against serious infections continue to be developed. The number of injections is reduced by the use of combination vaccines, where several vaccines are combined into one injection.

Where you can have your child immunised

Immunisations can be provided by your doctor, immunisation clinics, local councils, community child health nurses and some hospitals.

Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR)

A record of your child’s immunisation history is kept by the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR), which is run by Medicare Australia.

It gives you and health professionals many benefits, such as:

  • an immunisation history statement when your child turns 1, 2 and 5 years of age
  • documents to help with eligibility for some family payments
  • the option of getting a copy of your child’s immunisation details at any time
  • the ability to track immunisation levels in Australia to assist health professionals to monitor disease outbreaks.

To get your child’s records, should you need it as part of your child’s school requirements, you can contact the ACIR by phone on 1800 653 809.

No jab, no pay

In order to receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement and Child Care Benefit, your child needs to be up to date with their immunisation schedule or have a medical exemption if they are unable to be vaccinated.

Find out more at the Department of Social Services.

What are the side effects of immunisation?

Many children get minor side-effects such as redness, soreness and swelling at the injection site, mild fever, and being irritable or unsettled. If your child has any of these side-effects, give them extra fluids to drink, don’t overdress them if they feel hot and consider giving them paracetamol to help ease any fever or soreness. Most side effects are short-lasting and the child recovers without any problems.

Serious reactions to vaccinations are very rare. However, if they do occur, take your child to the doctor immediately.

More information

Immunise Australia Information Line on 1800 671 811 or visit their website www.immunise.health.gov.au.

Australian Childhood Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809 or visit their website www.humanservices.gov.au.

Last reviewed: January 2016

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 230 results

Immunisation Programs

The NSW Immunisation Program provides the community of NSW with protection against vaccine preventable diseases through initiatives targeting infants, children, adolescents, healthcare workers and older people.

Read more on NSW Health website

Immunisation | Red Nose

Read more on Red Nose website

Immunisation for your child

Answers to common questions about child immunisation and vaccinations, recommended diseases to be immunised against, plus links to trusted resources.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Health checks for babies

Information on your Child Health Record booklet and regular health checks, when your child should be checked, plus links to trusted resources.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Is Immunisation Linked With Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy? | Red Nose

Read more on Red Nose website

Newborn & baby care, new baby health basics | Raising Children Network

An in-a-nutshell guide to newborn baby health, with information on checkups, immunisation and common signs of illness in newborns.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Newborn baby essentials

Find out some of the essentials for looking after your newborn. Find out when your baby will need to have health checkups and immunisations. There is also lots of information on nappies, giving your baby a bath and teeth development.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Pregnancy - Pregnancy Topics - Immunisation and pregnancy

Yes. It is advisable to speak to your doctor to check that you have protection against certain diseases. Some diseases can cause serious illness in pregnant women, the unborn child or the newborn baby. Immunisation before, during or after pregnancy can protect against such diseases.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback