Why get immunised?

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Immunisation is a safe and effective way to protect you and your children from harmful, contagious diseases. It also safeguards the health of other people, now and for future generations.

Before vaccination campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s, diseases like tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough killed thousands of children. Today, it is extremely rare to die from these diseases in Australia.

Protect yourself

All diseases we vaccinate against can cause serious ongoing health conditions, and sometimes death. Immunisation is a safe and effective way of protecting you and your child against these diseases.

We are now able to prevent a larger number of serious and life threatening infections. Some vaccines that were previously given as separate injections are now combined, reducing the number of needles needed, while protecting against more diseases.

Protect your community

Immunisation protects more than you and your child from serious diseases.

When you get immunised, you protect yourself as well as helping to protect the whole community. When enough people in the community get immunised, it is more difficult for these diseases to spread. This helps to protect people who are at more risk of getting the disease, including unvaccinated members of the community. This means that even those who are too young or too sick to be vaccinated will not encounter the disease. We call this ‘herd immunity’ and it can save lives.

Vaccination rates are nearly 95% for five year olds in Australia, but we need to do more to protect all our kids.

Find out more by watching the Immunisation facts in 90 seconds video.

Help eradicate diseases

If enough people in the community get immunised against a disease, the infection can no longer spread from person to person. The disease can die out altogether. For example, smallpox was eradicated in 1980 after a vaccination campaign led by the World Health Organization.

A similar campaign by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has succeeded in reducing the number of polio cases. There are now only a few cases remaining in the developing world.

In March 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that measles was eliminated in Australia. In October 2018, the WHO verified that Australia had also eliminated rubella. The National Immunisation Program played an essential role in this achievement by ensuring high levels of vaccination coverage for rubella.

But it is still important to maintain high levels of vaccination against measles and rubella. They can still come to Australia by travellers from countries where the disease is common.

Access to benefits and early childhood services

No Jab, No Pay

Children must meet the immunisation requirements for Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A and Child Care Subsidy (CCS). 

To meet the immunisation requirements, children up to 19 years of age need to be up to date with their immunisations, on an approved catch-up schedule or have an approved exemption.

For the purposes of FTB Part A and CCS a child is required to be vaccinated against the diseases as per the age appropriate early childhood vaccination schedule.

Conscientious objection is no longer an approved exemption category.

To help parents meet the immunisation requirements, all young people up to and including 19 years of age can access free catch-up vaccines. If your child has missed some vaccines, talk to your doctor or vaccination provider to arrange catch-up vaccinations.

For more details about immunisation requirements for family payments visit Immunising your children.

To find out your child’s immunisation history see Check your child's vaccination status.

No Jab, No Play

The Australian and state and territory governments are considering introducing a consistent national approach to immunisation requirements for early education and care services.

Currently, however, there are different immunisation requirements across states and territories. For information on immunisation requirements for early education and care services, visit your state or territory health department website.

The ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania do not currently have No Jab, No Play policies, however, childcare services require an immunisation history statement for enrolment. If an outbreak occurs, unimmunised children may be excluded. 

Page last updated: 13 Feb 2020