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.
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.
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 over 93% for five year olds in Australia, but this needs to be higher.
Find out more by watching the Immunisation facts in 90 seconds video on the Get the Facts website.
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 declared that measles was eliminated in Australia. But it is important to maintain high levels of vaccination against measles. It 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
From 1 January 2016, immunisation requirements for Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A end of year supplement, Child Care Benefit (CCB), and Child Care Rebate (CCR) were extended to include children of all ages up to, and including, 19 years of age.
To meet the immunisation requirements, children 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 CCB, and CCR 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 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 immunisation history.
No Jab, No Play
Additionally, some states and territories may require a child to meet the immunisation requirements, or provide an immunisation record, to enrol in early childhood services. Further information is available on state and territory health websites.