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Feature Article

Childhood immunisation in Australia: 2015 update

Thomas J Allen, Melina M Georgousakis, Kristine K Macartney

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Abstract

Changes to childhood immunisation in Australia in the past five years include new vaccines funded by the National Immunisation Program, such as combination measles–mumps–rubella–varicella and pneumococcal vaccines, and new influenza and pertussis vaccine recommendations for children and pregnant women.
Correction
A correction for this article was published in the August 2015 issue of Medicine Today, and the full text PDF for this article (see link above) has been corrected.

Article Extract

  • Vaccine recommendations are updated regularly; to keep up to date, immunisation providers should check the Immunise Australia website and the electronic version of the Australian Immunisation Handbook (http://www.immunise.health.gov.au).
  • Most Australian children receive all recommended vaccines, but pockets of low coverage exist; GPs and clinics in these areas have a large role in increasing immunisation rates.
  • New vaccines funded by the National Immunisation Program (NIP) from 2011 include:
    • – 13-valent conjugate pneumococcal vaccine (replacing the seven-valent vaccine)
    • – combination measles–mumps–rubella–varicella and Haemophilus influenzae type b–meningococcal type C vaccines
    • – human papillomavirus vaccination for adolescent boys (as well as girls)
    • – influenza vaccine for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to less than 5 years.
  • New recommendations for vaccines not currently NIP-funded include:
    • – reintroduction of the 18-month booster dose of diphtheria–tetanus–acellular pertussis (DTPa) vaccine (on the NIP from 1 January 2016)
    • – meningococcal B vaccine for young children and adolescents
    • – vaccination of pregnant women in the third trimester against pertussis with dTpa (funded by state and territory programs).

Picture credit: © Teri McDermott.

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