Childhood Immunisation

Immunisation is highly recommended for all Australian children from an early age. Having childhood immunisation helps to protect them against the most serious childhood infections, some which may be life-threatening.

Routine childhood immunisation will protect your child against diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), rotavirus, hepatitis B, Pneumococcal, meningococcal C, chickenpox, measles, mumps and rubella (German Measles).

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

Immunisation and young children

New born babies are protected from some infectious diseases by antibodies transferred from mother to baby during pregnancy. When these antibodies wear off, the baby is at risk of serious infection.

Most childhood immunisations are given as an injection in the arm or leg, except the orally administered Rotavirus. Vaccines may protect against one specific disease or provide immunity for several diseases if a combined vaccine is given.

Victorian childhood immunisation schedule is available at the
Medicare Australia

Preparing for your child’s immunisation

It is important to take your child’s Child Health Record with you to each immunisation sessions so that they can be recorded.

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

  • Is unwell
  • Has had a severe reaction following any vaccine
  • Has any severe allergies (to anything)
  • Has had any vaccine in the past month
  • Has had an injection of immunogobulin or received any blood products or a whole blood transfusion within the past year
  • Has a disease which lowers immunity (such as leukaemia, cancer or HIV/AIDS) or is having treatment that causes low immunity (e.g. oral steroid medicines such as cortisone or prednisone, radiotherapy or chemotherapy).
  • Was a pre-term infant
  • Has a Chronic illness
  • Has a bleeding disorder
  • Lives with someone who has a disease or is having treatment that causes low immunity (e.g. oral steroid medicines such as a cortisone or prednisone, radiotherapy or chemotherapy)
  • Is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent
  • Does not have a functioning spleen

Possible Side Effects

Some children may experience a reaction to a vaccine. These side effects are generally mild, occur soon after the immunisation and lasts for a short period of time. Treatment is not usually required, although you may consider using paracetamol to help ease the fever and soreness. More serious reaction to immunisation are very rare. Urgent medical attention may be required if serious side effects do occur.

If you have any concerns please ask the doctor or immunisation nurse and be sure to follow any instructions you are given about your child’s immunisation. If you have missed any sessions, the vaccine schedule can safely be continued as if there had been no delay. However, significant delay could mean your child will not be eligible for a free vaccine as these are generally given for specific age groups.

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