Immunisation

How Immunisation Protects Us

Immunisation Info

Immunisation can mean many things to many different people. Ultimately the definition of immunisation is the act of receiving a vaccine to stimulate the body’s own immune system to become immune to a particular disease.

Having an immunity to a disease not only protects children but prevents ongoing health issues in later life as well as reducing adding extra strain on our health care system. The Australian Government offers free vaccinations under the National Immunisation Program.

The Australian Government Department of Health

The Australian Government Department of Health is responsible for all issues pertaining to health in Australia including preventable diseases and vaccinations.

The Department of Health created The Immunise Australia Program and is overseen by the National Immunisation Committee (NIC).  The Immunise Australia Program is ultimately responsible for monitoring and reporting on preventable diseases and most importantly, purchases the vaccines.

Immunisation in Australia for children officially began in 1932 and has been an integral part of nearly completely eliminating crippling and fatal diseases such as polio and tuberculosis.

The Department of Health is regularly updated with reports of outbreaks of preventable diseases (such as whooping cough) and consults with the NIC if vaccination levels need to be re-assessed or increased.

As of 1st of January 2016, the Department of Health enforced the new No Jab, No Pay arrangement.

The No Jab, No Pay arrangement stipulates that parents who do not immunise their child in accordance with the National Immunisation Program will no longer be eligible for receiving the Child Care Benefit, the Child Care Rebate, and the Family Tax Benefit Part A end of year supplement.

Who Can be Immunised?

It is recommended that babies receive their first immunisation at birth for Hepatitis B.  The Department of Health has established a vaccination program which is staggered throughout the growth and development of the child. The official children’s National Immunisation Program Schedule (from 20th April 2015) is as follows:

WhenVaccination
BirthHepatitis B
2 monthsHepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b, inactivated poliomyelitis (polio). Pneumococcal conjugate. Rotavirus.
4 monthsHepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b, inactivated poliomyelitis (polio). Pneumococcal conjugate. Rotavirus.
6 monthsHepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b, inactivated poliomyelitis (polio). Pneumococcal conjugate. Rotavirus (third dose of vaccine is dependent on vaccine brand used. Contact your State or Territory Health Department for details).
12 monthsHaemophilus influenzae type b and meningococcal C. Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
18 monthsMeasles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox).
Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough).
4 yearsDiphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough) and inactivated poliomyelitis (polio). Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) (to be given only if MMRV vaccine was not given at 18 months).

In addition, it is recommended that children between the ages of 10 to 15 years old receive an immunisation for Varicella (chickenpox), Human papillomavirus (HPV), Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (whooping cough).

Note: there are variables which are stipulated on the official National Immunisation Program Schedule

References