Vaccinations for your child (5 years and older)

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All children over the age of five should be given any missed vaccinations from the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule. Talk to your doctor to arrange a catch-up schedule if necessary, and remember, the standard vaccines are free up until the age of 19.

If you want to find out more about vaccinations for your child under the age of five, please see Vaccinations for your baby (0-5 years).

 

Children aged 5 years and above:  The influenza vaccination

An influenza vaccination is recommended for all children who have medical conditions that put them at risk of developing severe influenza. These include:

  • Chronic heart, lung or kidney disease;
  • Chronic neurological conditions;
  • Genetic blood disorders, such as haemoglobinopathies;
  • Diabetes;
  • Any illness resulting in impaired immunity.

 

Children aged 10-15 years:  Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough booster (DTPa)

A booster dose of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis) is recommended for all children between the ages of 10 and 15 years who are eligible to receive a free vaccine as part of the school immunisation program.

A booster dose is a dose of a vaccine that you have already received before. Another dose ‘boosts’ your immune system, ensuring that you remain immune to the targeted disease.

 

Children aged 10-15 years:  Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination

The HPV vaccine provides protection against the human papillomavirus, which is a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and cancer. It is often referred to as the ‘cervical cancer vaccine’ as it is a safe and effective way of preventing cervical cancer, although HPV also causes 60% of oropharyngeal (back of the throat, tongue and tonsils), 90% of anal, 65% of vaginal, 50% of vulvar and 35% of penile cancers.

The scheduling of these vaccinations is organised through school immunisation programs. It is free for 12- and 13-year-old children (both male and female) as part of the National HPV Vaccination Program. Anyone up until the age of 19 can receive a free catch-up shot as part of the NIP. Males and females over the age of 20 can also benefit from the vaccine, but will need to pay for it.

 

Children aged 10-19 years: Meningococcal vaccination

Meningococcal bacteria can cause severe meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain), which can lead to brain damage, loss of limbs, severe scarring or even death.

The standard meningococcal vaccine (MenACWY) that is now provided in the NIP schedule at 12 months of age covers four strains of meningococcal – A, C, W and Y. This vaccine change occurred in 2018; therefore, all children who received standard meningococcal vaccines before 2018 would only have been provided cover against meningococcal C.

Currently, all Australian states and territories are providing free MenACWY vaccinations through school immunisation programs. As of April 2019, the federal government will take over this responsibility by funding a 4-year school-based campaign that will provide free MenACWY vaccines to 14 to 16 year olds. 15 to 19-year-old adolescents who have not already had the vaccine will be eligible to receive the free vaccine though ongoing GP-based catch up programs.

The Meningococcal B vaccine (MenBV) is recommended for adolescents aged 15-19 years due to their higher risk of catching meningococcal B disease compared with other ages. MenBV, which is usually given in two separate doses, is particularly recommended for adolescents planning on living in crowded living spaces, such as student residential accommodation and military bases. Unfortunately, the cost of MenBV is currently not covered by government vaccination programs, and therefore is an out-of-pocket expense.

 

School immunisation programs

In order for children to receive a vaccination at school, parents or guardians are required to complete a consent form. These forms should contain information about the relevant vaccine(s) that will be at school.  It is very important that you ensure your child attends school on specified vaccination days.

Home-schooled children, as well as children who may have missed their school immunisation program, are eligible to receive the same vaccinations from their family GP for free (although your GP may still charge a consultation fee).  This needs to be done at the same age targeted by your state or territory’s program. For example, the current school immunisation program for DTPa and HPV in South Australia occurs in Year 8, whereas in NSW it occurs in Year 7. Check your own state’s requirements to see at what age your home-schooled child is covered for free.

 

International travel

In some cases, certain vaccines are recommended for your child or adolescent if international travel is planned. Visit a travel health clinic 6-12 weeks before leaving, as the number and types of vaccinations needed depends on your planned destination, and some vaccines may require multiple doses.

 

Resources

checklist_hand_300x200 Download the Standard Vaccination Checklist (Children >5 Years of Age) in a printable pdf format.

 

More information

For more information about vaccinations in pregnancy and in children in Australia, see Vaccinations.

 

References

  1. Immunisation for children [online]. Australian Government Department of Health; 2017 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  2. Human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation service [online]. Australian Government Department of Health; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  3. Cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV), and HPV vaccines [online]. World Health Organization; 2008 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  4. Meningococcal ACWY vaccine [online]. HealthyWA; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  5. Immunisation: Adolescents [online]. ACT Health; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  6. Meningococcal vaccine [online]. Health Vic; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  7. NSW Meningococcal W Response Program [online]. NSW Health; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  8. Meningococcal disease [online]. Department of Health and Human Services Tasmania; 2017 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  9. Meningococcal ACWY Vaccination Program [online]. Queensland Health; 2017 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [PDF]
  10. Meningococcal ACYW vaccine program to be expanded [online]. Northern Territory Department of Health; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  11. HPV: What is HPV? [online]. Cancer Council Australia; 2017 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  12. Meningococcal disease: Recommendations [online]. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th edition; 2017 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  13. Immunisation for travel [online]. Australian Government Department of Health; 2017 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  14. National Immunisation Program Schedule [online]. Australian Government Department of Health; 2017 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  15. FAQs: What is the National HPV Vaccination Program? [online]. National HPV Vaccination Program Register; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  16. How, when and where is the vaccine given? [online]. HPV Vaccine; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  17. Minister for Health The Hon. Greg Hunt MP. Quad-strain meningococcal vaccine to be added to National Immunisation Program [online]. Commonwealth of Australia; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  18. Young people: School Immunisation Program [online]. Queensland Government; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  19. School Immunisation Program [online]. SA Health; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  20. NSW School Vaccination Program 2018 [online]. NSW Health; 2018 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
  21. Vaccination information for parents of home schooled children [online]. ACT Health; 2017 [cited 5 June 2018]. Available from: [PDF]
  22. Minister for Health: The Hon Greg Hunt MP. $52 million to deliver free meningococcal vaccine to teenagers [online]. Australian Government Department of Health; 2018 [cited 26 September 2018]. Available from: [URL link]
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Date Created: June 5, 2018 Date Modified: September 29, 2018