By vaccinating your child, you're not just protecting them – you're also protecting the other children and adults they encounter from serious and preventable diseases.
It's important to follow the National Immunisation Program Schedule provided by the federal goverment, which explains the timings for each vaccination.
Where to get your child vaccinated
Free vaccinations are available at:
Find out more
For more information, call the National Immunisation Hotline on 1800 671 811, or contact us on:
- 1300 365 222
Are the diseases we vaccinate against really still an issue?
Some of the diseases children are vaccinated against, like whooping cough and flu, are still common in Australia. Others, like measles, are less common in Australia but are more common in countries nearby. We vaccinate children to protect them from diseases that can be brought here by travellers.
Some of the diseases we vaccinate children against, like polio, have become very rare because vaccination has stopped them from spreading. We still vaccinate Australian children against these diseases so that they won't be able to come back.
Why do children receive so many vaccines in the first two years?
The timing of each dose of every vaccine has been determined by rigorous and independent scientific research. The timing of vaccines is based on a range of factors, including:
- the diseases Australian children are likely to be exposed to
- how serious the diseases can be for children at different ages
- which vaccines are the safest and most effective
- how many doses are needed to provide full protection
- the age when the vaccines will give the best protection.
Making sure your child gets specific vaccinations at specific times in their development is the best way to protect them and others against serious diseases.
For more information on how these timings are determined, contact the National Immunisations Hotline on 1800 671 811 or consult with your maternal and child health nurse or preferred doctor.
What happens if I delay or leave out certain vaccines?
Delaying vaccination is not recommended. When vaccination is delayed, children are unprotected for longer than they need to be. This is often at an age when they're most vulnerable, when a disease is most common or when it may have the most serious health impacts.
Spacing out vaccines means that a child will need to have more vaccination appointments. Researchers have found that visiting the doctor for one needle is just as stressful for children as visiting the doctor for two needles at once.
Why has the recommended vaccination schedule changed since I had my last baby?
Recommended vaccination schedules change over time based on scientific insights or improved vaccine technology. When new vaccines become available, they can be added to the schedule to protect children from a disease they couldn't be protected from before.
New 'combination vaccines' reduce the number of needles children need to get because they protect children against more than one disease with a single needle. When a vaccine is improved, or a safer, more effective or less expensive vaccine is developed, fewer doses may be needed or they may be needed at different ages.
Booster doses are sometimes added to the schedule to strengthen the protective effect of a vaccine.
Why is the recommended vaccination schedule different in other countries?
Patterns of disease, strains of viruses or bacteria, medical care, available vaccines and their cost are different in other countries. Medical experts and health economists consider all of the available information about children and diseases in their countries, and decide which vaccines should be given to children at what ages.
In Australia, medical experts and health economists from a variety of independent advisory groups decide which vaccines should be provided to children living in Australia. When making these decisions, they carefully consider medical science, the cost of the vaccines and the safety of our children.
Do I have to get my child vaccinated to go to kindergarten?
Yes, you do. 'No Jab, No Play' legislation requires all children to be fully vaccinated before they can be enrolled in childcare or kindergarten in Victoria, unless they have a medical exemption.
How much does it cost to get my child vaccinated?
Vaccination services are free. You won't need to pay anything.
Where can I find out more about immunisation?
Contact the National Immunisations Hotline for the latest immunisation information by phoning 1800 671 811.