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.
- 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.