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Adolescents may lose their immunity gained during childhood. Learn more about how you can help protect your child during their teenage years.
The Australian National Immunisation Program (NIP) outlines a series of government funded immunisations given at specific times throughout a child's life. In addition, vaccines for other diseases that are not funded may be recommended for specific life stages in the Australian Immunisation Handbook (a resource developed by a government body to provide advice to healthcare professionals).1,2
- Immunisation funded via the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for everyone
- Immunisation recommended in the Australian Immunisation Handbook but is not funded
- Immunisation funded via the NIP for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and/or medically at-risk children only
- Immunisation recommended in the Australian Immunisation Handbook for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and/or medically at-risk children only but is not funded
Please speak with a healthcare professional for more information in relation to any of the diseases below and what conditions are considered under "medically at risk"
Many of the individual diseases listed in the schedule below are available in combined immunisations to reduce the number of injections. Download PDF
|Diseases||Birth||2 months||4 months||6 months||12 months||18 months||4 years||10 to <15 years||15-19 years|
|A second dose of varicella vaccine is recommended any time between 4 years of age and less than 14 years, at least 4 weeks after the first dose. Speak to your doctor to learn more.|
|Two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine are recommended and NIP-funded for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at 12 months and 18 months living in certain areas. A two-dose schedule (which is not funded) is also recommended for some medically at-risk children and adolescents. Speak to your doctor to learn more.|
|An additional booster vaccine is recommended at 12 months of age for preterm infants who were born at less than 32 weeks gestation or whose birth weight was under 2000 grams. Speak to your doctor to learn more.|
|Meningococcal ACWY disease|
|The meningococcal ACWY vaccine is strongly recommended (but not funded) for children less than 2 years of age, adolescents (15 - 19 years), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (2 months - 19 years), and those aged at or above 2 months with certain medical conditions. A free dose is given at 12 months of age. For anyone wishing to reduce their risk of meningococcal disease the vaccine is recommended if their doctor deems it appropriate. Speak to your doctor to learn more or see who is most at risk of meningococcal disease here.|
|Meningococcal B disease|
|The meningococcal B vaccine is strongly recommended (but not funded) for children less than 2 years of age, adolescents (15 - 19 years), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (2 months - 19 years), and those aged at or above 2 months with certain medical conditions. For anyone wishing to reduce their risk of meningococcal disease the vaccine is recommended if their doctor deems it appropriate. Speak to your doctor to learn more or see who is most at risk of meningococcal disease here.|
|An additional dose of pneumococcal vaccine is recommended and NIP-funded at 6 months of age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Two additional doses (at 6 months and 4 years) are recommended and NIP-funded for medically-at risk children. Further doses may be recommended and funded during adolescence depending on risk – speak to your doctor to learn more.|
|Whooping cough (pertussis)|
|The influenza vaccine is recommended annually for all people aged 6 months and over. Influenza vaccine is funded under the NIP for those at or above 6 months of age with certain medical conditions and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months to under 5 years and those aged at or above 15 years. Learn more about who should receive flu vaccination.|
- Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). Australian Immunisation Handbook, Australian Government Department of Health, Canberra, 2018, immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au.
- Australian Governement Department of Health. National immunisation program schedule. available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule
You may experience some side effects after immunisation. Most are mild, short-lived and clear within a few days.
Common side effects can include:
- a sore arm
- pain and redness at the injection site.
Severe side effects like an allergic reaction are rare. If you think you are experiencing a severe reaction, you should see a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
If you have any concerns about the side effects of vaccines, please speak to a healthcare professional.
In Australia, immunisation is not compulsory but not having your child fully vaccinated may affect Government benefits or enrolment in childcare or kindergarten.
Immunisations can help by:
- helping to protect your child or yourself from infectious diseases
- helping to protect those who cannot be immunised (for example those with a weakened immune system)
Speak to a healthcare professional for more information.
The NIP is a schedule of vaccines that are provided for free by the Australian Government, to help protect against a range of different diseases.
Many of the vaccines are given in early childhood and others through to adulthood.
Vaccines generally contain dead, severely weakened forms or specific parts of the germ that causes disease. They are designed to teach your immune system to fight any future infections.
When the vaccine enters your body – either via a needle or oral dose – your immune system gets to work and produces antibodies that are able lock onto and destroy the germ. Your immune system is then able to remember the germ and produce those antibodies to destroy it if you are exposed to the disease later in your life.
In short, vaccines strengthen and train your immune system to help protect you against harmful diseases.
Vaccines are given for potentially serious and fatal diseases that were common in Australia before immunisation was available. The germs that cause these diseases are still around – yet, thanks to high rates of immunisation in the community, most of these diseases are fortunately very rare.
Don’t forget, in some countries, vaccine-preventable diseases are still common and can be brought into Australia by travellers.
It's important for your child to receive all the recommended doses. With some diseases, the level of protection provided by an immunisation can decrease over time. Booster doses are recommended to help maintain immunity.
Please discuss your Individual situation and any specific concerns with a healthcare professional.
Like all medicines, vaccines are not 100% effective. Therefore, there may still be a chance that an immunised person can get the disease – although usually with less severe symptoms than if they’d had no immunisation.
Don’t forget, the chances of exposure to a disease are reduced in communities where most people are immunised as is the case in most of Australia.
A scheduled immunisation may be delayed if your child:
- has a high temperature (over 38.5ºC)
- has a weakened immune system (e.g. receiving chemotherapy)
- has another medical condition that needs to be considered.
Speak to a healthcare professional about your child's circumstances before postponing immunisation.
Adolescents generally require fewer immunisations than babies and younger children. This is because:
- their immune systems are more developed
- they should have received the recommended immunisations at a younger age
- they may have been naturally infected with a disease and built up their own immunity.
Immunisations are aimed at:
- providing booster doses for diseases for which immunity has decreased over time, such as whooping cough
- providing initial doses for diseases that they are now at greater risk of catching, such as human papillomavirus.
The number of immunisations suggested for adolescents will also depend on whether they are up-to-date with the immunisation schedule and whether they fall into certain risk groups.
Please discuss your individual situation and any specific concerns with a healthcare professional.
If your teenager did not receive some or all of the recommended doses of immunisations when they were young, they might need what’s called a ‘catch-up dose(s)’. Catch-up doses may not be funded as part of the National Immunisation Program.
Speak with a healthcare professional if you're unsure about your teenager's immunisation status.
The more prepared you are, the safer and more enjoyable your overseas trip will be.
Some parts of the world are more prone to certain diseases than others but many of these diseases and infections could be prevented.
It is important to plan ahead and see a healthcare professional at least 6 to 8 weeks before you travel to discuss prevention options and travel health. Take along your full itinerary so a healthcare professional can best assess your needs.
PM-AU-AVX-WCNT-190008 Date of GSK Approval: January 2021