Summary

  • Immunisation from an early age helps protect your child against serious childhood infections.
  • The Immunisation Schedule Victoria outlines the vaccines your child needs and the age at which each vaccine should be given.
  • Some groups are more at risk than others in the community and may need additional vaccines.
  • Remain in the clinic with your child for at least 15 minutes after their immunisation to be sure there are no immediate side effects.
  • Serious side effects or allergic reactions to the vaccines are rare.
Immunisation from an early age is highly recommended for all Australian children. Having your child immunised helps to protect them from the most serious childhood infections, some of which may threaten their lives.

Routine childhood immunisations help to protect your child against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal C disease, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), rotavirus, chickenpox (varicella), measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) and influenza.

The National Immunisation Program provides the routine childhood immunisations recommended for all children in Australia, free of charge. Some groups are more at risk than others in the community and may need additional vaccinations. The Victorian government funds some extra vaccines from time to time.

See your doctor or local health clinic to have your child immunised. All Victorian local councils run immunisation sessions.

Immunisation and young children

In the first months of life, a baby might have some protection from a specific infectious disease but only if the mother has had that infectious disease or has been immunised. This is known as passive immunity and occurs when antibodies are transferred from mother to baby during pregnancy. The level of antibody protection for the baby can be low and wears off quickly and this puts them at risk of diseases that can be prevented with vaccination.

Most childhood immunisations are given as an injection in the arm or leg, except rotavirus vaccine, which is administered by mouth. A vaccination dose may contain a vaccine against one specific disease or provide immunity for several diseases, if a number of vaccines are combined in the same injection. This helps to reduce the number of injections your child needs.

Immunisation schedule for Victorian babies and young children

The Victorian immunisation schedule outlines the vaccines that are routinely provided free of charge to all Victorian children under the National Immunisation Program and the Victorian funded program. It also outlines the age at which each vaccination should be given. New vaccines against serious infections continue to be developed and the schedule might be updated in the future.

 

Download the VaxOnTime app. 

With VaxOnTime, you can:

  • receive reminder notifications leading up to when your child is due for their vaccinations
  • search for a local immunisation provider
  • call and make an appointment for vaccinations or find out when immunisation sessions are being run by your local council
  • add an appointment to your device’s calendar.

Age

Disease

Vaccine brand ®

Common reactions

Birth

Hepatitis B

H-B-VaxII Paediatric or Enerix Paediatric

Mild temperature, pain at the injection site

Two months (from six weeks)

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

Infanrix hexa

Mild temperature, pain at the injection site, drowsiness, irritability/crying

Pneumococcal

Prevenar 13

Mild temperature, pain at the injection site

Rotavirus

Rotarix

Mild temperature

Four months

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

Infanrix hexa

Mild temperature, pain at the injection site, drowsiness, irritability/crying

Pneumococcal

Prevenar 13

Mild temperature, pain at the injection site

Rotavirus

Rotarix

Mild temperature

Six months

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

Infanrix hexa

Mild temperature, pain at the injection site, drowsiness, irritability/crying

Pneumococcal

Prevenar 13

Mild temperature, pain at the injection site

12 months

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

M-M-R II/Priorix

About seven to 10 days after vaccination: fever (can be over 39°C), faint red non-infectious rash, drowsiness, runny nose, cough or puffy eyes, swollen salivary glands.

Very rarely a low platelet count causing bleeding and bruising

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Meningococcal C

Menitorix

Mild temperature, loss of appetite, irritability/crying

18 months

Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chickenpox) (MMRV)

Priorix-Tetra or ProQuad

About seven to 10 days after vaccination: fever (can be over 39 °C), faint red non-infectious rash, drowsiness, runny nose, cough or puffy eyes, swollen salivary glands
About five to 26 days after vaccination: mild rash like chickenpox

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis

Infanrix or Tripacel

Mild temperature, irritability/crying, drowsiness

 

Four years

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio

Infanrix IPV

Mild temperature, irritability/crying, drowsiness

Six months of age to less than five years of age (from May 2018)

Influenza

Influenza vaccine IPV

Fever, feeling unwell, muscle aches, injection site pain, redness and swelling

Immunising your child is important

By law,  there are particular immunisation requirements that your child needs to meet in order to go to childcare, kindergarten and primary school.

By law, immunisations must be up-to-date before your child starts childcare and kindergarten. The Australian Immunisation Register (Tel. 1800 653 809) will send you an Immunisation History Statement of your child's immunisation status on request  or you can download the Immunisation History Statement from your myGov account

To encourage parents to immunise their children at the appropriate age, the Australian Government provides a number of government family assistance payments, which require children to meet the vaccination requirements. For more information, visit the Australian Government Department of Human Services website or visit a Centrelink or Medicare Service Centre.

Preparing for your child's immunisation

When you take your child for each vaccination, it important to take your child's My Health and Development Record (the green book) or your child's health record booklet, so that the doctor, nurse or health worker can record your child's visit. These records are an important reminder of when your child's next immunisations are due and which children in the family are immunised.

There is also the option of setting up an eHealth record for your child and downloading the My Child's eHealth Record app.

Pre-immunisation checklist

Before the immunisation, you need to tell the doctor or nurse if your child:

  • is unwell (temperature over 38.5 C)
  • has had a severe reaction following any vaccine
  • has any severe allergies to any other medication or substances
  • has had any vaccine in the past month
  • has had an injection of immunoglobulin or received any blood products or a whole blood transfusion within the past year
  • was a pre-term infant born less than 32 weeks gestation, or weighing less than 2,000 g at birth
  • as a baby, has had an intussusception (a blockage caused by one portion of the bowel sliding into the next piece of bowel like the pieces of a telescope)
  • has a chronic illness
  • has a bleeding disorder
  • does not have a functioning spleen
  • lives with someone with a disease or who is having treatment that causes lower immunity - examples include leukaemia, cancer or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), oral steroid medications, radiotherapy or chemotherapy
  • has a disease which lowers immunity (such as leukaemia, cancer, HIV or AIDS) or is having treatment that causes low immunity (such as oral steroid medication, radiotherapy or chemotherapy)
  • identifies as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person.

Side effects after immunisation

Immunisations are effective and safe, although all medication can have unwanted side effects. Some children may experience a reaction to a vaccine. In virtually all cases, immunisation side effects are not as serious as the symptoms a child would experience if they were to contract the disease.

The mild side effects can include a mild fever and pain at the injection site. For specific information about side effects from different doses of vaccine, ask your doctor or healthcare professional.

Managing fever after immunisation

Common side effects following immunisation are usually mild and temporary (occurring one to two days after vaccination). Specific treatment is not usually required.

There are a number of treatment options that can reduce the side effects of the vaccine including:

  • giving extra fluids to drink and not overdressing if there is a fever
  • although routine use of paracetamol after vaccination is not recommended, if pain or fever is present, paracetamol can be given -- check the label for the correct dose or speak with your pharmacist (especially when giving paracetamol to children).

Managing injection site reactions

Many vaccine injections may result in soreness, redness, itching, swelling or a burning feeling at the injection site for one to two days. Paracetamol and a cool compress on the site might be required to ease the discomfort.

Concerns about side effects of immunisation

If a side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent or severe or if you are worried about yourself or your child's condition after a vaccination, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital. Immunisation side effects may be reported to SAEFVIC, the Victorian vaccine safety service (Tel. 1300 882 924 and select option 1).

You can discuss with your immunisation provider how to report adverse events in other states or territories. 

It is important to seek medical advice if you (or your child) are unwell, as this may be due to other illness rather than because of the vaccination.

Rare side effects of immunisation

There is a very small risk of a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any vaccine. This is why you are advised to stay at the clinic or medical surgery for at least 15 minutes following immunisation in case further treatment is required.

If your child misses an immunisation

To fully protect your child and avoid unnecessary costs, it is best to immunise your child at the recommended age. If you have fallen behind or missed a session, the vaccine schedule can be safely continued as if there had been no delay. Ask your doctor or immunisation provider about catch-up doses of vaccine.

There is no need to repeat doses already received before having catch-up doses.

Immunisation and HALO

The immunisations you may need are decided by your health, age, lifestyle and occupation. Together, these factors are referred to as HALO.

Talk to your doctor or immunisation provider if you think you or someone in your care has health, age, lifestyle or occupation factors that could mean immunisation is necessary. You can check your immunisation HALO using the Immunisation for Life infographic.

Where to get help

 
References
  • The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition (updated August 2017), 2017, Department of Health, Australian Government. More information here.
  • Immunisation schedule Victoria and vaccine eligibility criteria, Department of Health and Human Services, Victorian Government. More information here.
  • National Immunisation Program Schedule (from November 2016), 2016, Department of Health, Australian Government. More information here.
  • Vaccine facts, Department of Health and Human Services, Victorian Government. More information here.
  • Pre-immunisation checklist -- what to tell your doctor or nurse before immunisation, 2013, Department of Health and Human Services, Victorian Government. More information here.

More information

Immunisation

The following content is displayed as Tabs. Once you have activated a link navigate to the end of the list to view its associated content. The activated link is defined as Active Tab

Immunisation basics

Timing and schedules

Immunisation throughout life

A-Z of immunisations and vaccines

Content Partner

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

Last updated: January 2018

Page content currently being reviewed.

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.