Feature Article

What’s new in childhood immunisation

Feature Article

What’s new in childhood immunisation

Peter McIntyre, Nicholas Wood

Abstract

This article provides an update on some of the issues facing the existing immunisation program, the reasons behind the new Australian Standard Vaccination schedule, and the future of vaccines.

Key Points

  • The new Australian Standard Vaccination Schedule includes pneumococcal and meningococcal conjugate vaccines and the varicella vaccine.
  • The new schedule omits the DTPa booster dose at 18 months and replaces it with a low dose (dTpa) booster for adolescents (at 15 to 17 years).
  • Inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine (IPV) will maintain polio immunity without vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis, and a polio booster at 15 to 17 years of age is no longer recommended.
  • A two-dose adult-strength hepatitis B vaccine can be used in adolescents.
  • Pentavalent and hexavalent DTPa-containing vaccines will be available for use in the primary vaccination schedule.
  • There is very good evidence that measles–mumps–rubella vaccine does not cause autism. Two doses of the vaccine provide lifelong immunity.