Clinical update: Practitioners and AIR medical exemptions
From 16 August 2017, general practitioners (GPs), paediatricians, infectious disease physicians, public health physicians and clinical immunologists can issue a medical exemption to vaccination that will be recognised by the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
As of 16 August 2017 the following practitioners can issue a medical exemption to vaccination that will be recognised by the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR):
- General practitioners (GPs)
- Infectious disease physicians
- Public health physicians
- Clinical immunologists
The medical basis for vaccination exemption is based on guidance in the Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th edition. Medical exemptions to vaccination can only be issued due to a medical contraindication or natural immunity.
Medical contraindications to vaccination are rare and limited to:
- previous anaphylaxis to vaccine/vaccine component; or
- significant immunocompromise (live attenuated vaccines only) or
- acute major medical illness; or
- significant immunocompromise of short duration (live attenuated vaccines only); or
- the individual is pregnant (live attenuated vaccines only).
Natural immunity to hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella must be confirmed via laboratory testing or physician based clinical diagnosis. Exemption to a combination vaccine on the bases of natural immunity is only valid if immunity is confirmed for all vaccine antigens.
Conscientious objection (vaccination objection on non-medical grounds) is no longer a valid exemption from the immunisation requirements for certain family payments.
Notifications of medical contraindications and natural immunity will not be accepted on practitioner’s letterhead and must be issued on the approved AIR Immunisation Medical Exemption Form.
The form includes guidance for practitioners on what is, and is not, considered a valid reason for a medical exemption to vaccination.