Vaccinate on time

Timing of vaccines help to protect children

The timing of each dose of every vaccine is based on careful research. This helps to give children the best protection against serious diseases. 

The timing of vaccines is based on a range of factors:

  • 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 at which the vaccines will give the best protection.

Why is the schedule the way it is explains the reasons behind the vaccination schedule.

See Immunisation for infants and children for information on what free vaccinations are available for children aged 0 to 4 to protect them against serious diseases.

Additional vaccinations are also provided as part of school programs and for those most at risk of serious complications from vaccine-preventable diseases. Find out when to get vaccinated and what vaccinations are provided for free.

Why is it important to vaccinate on time?

It is important to vaccinate on time to give your child the best protection against serious diseases. Even if you’re just a few weeks late this puts your child and those around at risk of contracting serious disease. ‘On time’ means on (or as close as possible to) the due date in accordance with the National Immunisation Program Schedule.

Just like delaying vaccination can put your child at risk of contracting diseases, having doses too early may mean that your child does not develop longer term protection.  

If you miss a vaccination or forget, speak to your doctor about catching up. 

When children are not up-to-date on their vaccines, it not only increases the risk of disease for them, but also increases the risk that disease spreads to other vulnerable people.

Your doctor or immunisation provider will remind you when our child’s next vaccination is due. There are also a range of smartphone apps to remind you when vaccines for you or your child are due. These can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store or Windows App Store.

Page last updated: 30 Mar 2022