Immunisation is an essential part of health care. It protects those people who have been immunised (vaccinated), and also protects those in our community who may be unable to receive vaccines themselves, by reducing the prevalence and spread of disease.
No matter what your age, it is important to know if your (or your child’s) immunisations are up to date. Having a record makes this easier.
So, if you are going to have a vaccination, take your Medicare card with you. Your immunisation provider will supply the details of your vaccination to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). If you are eligible to hold a Medicare card but you do not have one, you can still be vaccinated. If you are not eligible for a Medicare card, some vaccines are still free for people of some ages.
If the vaccination is for a baby or child, take their ‘My Health, Learning and Development Record’ book (green book) for the GP or immunisation nurse to fill in. This is for your own personal record. It is also the role of the vaccination provider to supply this information to the AIR.
Where are vaccinations recorded?
Since October 2016 vaccinations in Australia have been recorded on the centralised Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Prior to this, childhood vaccination records were kept on the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR).
Earlier than 1996, records were kept locally with the vaccination provider – such as the local council immunisation service or your GP. They may also have been recorded in a baby health book given to your parent or carer to keep at home.
Vaccination records on the AIR
From 1996, childhood vaccinations in Australia (for children under the age of seven) were recorded on the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR).
From January 2016 to September 2016 the ACIR expanded to include vaccination records for young people up to the age of 20 years.
In September 2016 the ACIR became the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Any vaccinations that were recorded on the ACIR are now recorded on the AIR. From October 2016, the AIR started to accept vaccination records for people of all ages.
From November 2018, the National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination Program Register transferred all HPV vaccination records to the AIR.
It is the role of the vaccination provider (such as your GP or immunisation nurse) to send details of your vaccinations to the AIR.
Vaccination records not on the AIR
Vaccinations that are not recorded on the AIR include:
- childhood vaccinations (or any other vaccinations) prior to 1996
- vaccinations received as a person aged between 7 and 20 years between 1996 and December 2015
- vaccinations received as an adult prior to October 2016.
How can I find vaccination records that are not on the AIR?
If your vaccinations are not recorded on the AIR, there is a range of other places where they may be recorded, such as:
- a family-held vaccination record – such as your ‘baby health book’ or a document recording vaccines received at school
- with your GP – especially if you have been seeing them since childhood
- in hospital records – if you have had vaccinations in hospital, discuss this with your doctor
- the immunisation service at your local council where you lived as a baby or child
- the immunisation service at your local council where you went to secondary school
- any travel health clinic that you have attended
- any health service you attended if you needed vaccinations for your work, or received vaccinations at work
- your overseas immunisation provider – if you or your family members had vaccinations overseas.
So, for vaccinations received as an adult prior to October 2016, you will need to contact the organisation that administered the vaccines, such as the GP, local council, hospital or travel clinic, to obtain a written record.
Local councils are required to hold records of childhood vaccinations until the person reaches 25 years of age.
What if I can’t find a record of vaccinations I have received?
In the situation that vaccination records cannot be located, visit your GP to discuss your (or your child's) immunisation requirements.
Vaccinations can be administered according to a person’s health, age, lifestyle and occupation (HALO).
How can I access a vaccination record on the AIR?
You can access a vaccination record on the AIR in several ways:
- print a copy of your (or your child’s) Immunisation History Statement using your Medicare online account through myGov or Express Plus Medicare mobile app
- call the AIR on 1800 653 809 and request a copy be posted to you. It can take up to 14 days to arrive by post
- email email@example.com
- visit a Medicare or Centrelink office only if you are eligible to hold a Medicare card
- visit your GP or local council immunisation service.
If you have one, make sure you have your (or your child’s) Medicare card with you. People not eligible for a Medicare card may also access the AIR.
The AIR currently has limited vaccination records for adults as it is new. Talk to your GP to check if your recent vaccinations (since October 2016) are recorded on the AIR.
Where to get help
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Department of Health and Human Services - RHP&R - Health Protection - Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Unit
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