Immunise Australia Program
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Immunise Australia Program. Information Line 1800 671 811
Immunise Australia Program. Information Line 1800 671 811

Frequently Asked Questions: Changes to National Immunisation Schedule and Related Payments


What changes are being made to the way the Government supports immunisation for children?
When will the changes start?
What do families need to do to meet the new immunisation conditions linked to the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement?
What changes are being made to the National Immunisation Program Schedule?
How will families be informed about these changes?
How will these changes affect me if my child has already had their 18 month vaccination varicella (“chicken pox”) but hasn’t had their four year old immunisation of MMR yet?
What do the changes mean for immunisation providers?
How will immunisation providers be informed about these new changes?
What exemptions will be available for the new immunisation conditions linked to the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement?


What changes are being made to the way the Government supports immunisation for children?

The government is introducing reforms to Australia’s childhood immunisation arrangements.

These changes mean:
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When will the changes start?

1 July 2012:

1 July 2013:



What do families need to do to meet the new immunisation conditions linked to the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement?

Parents will need to have had their children fully immunised during the financial years that each child turns one, two and five years of age to obtain the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement for that period.

To meet the immunisation requirements, children will need to be ‘fully immunised’, be on a recognised immunisation catch up schedule, or have an approved exemption.

The list of vaccines required to be ‘fully immunised’

The Family Assistance office will check whether a child is assessed by the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register as being fully immunised (or has an approved exemption) at the end of the financial year when a family’s payments are balanced. This happens after parents lodge their tax returns.

In addition to the vaccinations required to receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement, there are other important vaccines which are recommended but are not included in the definition of fully immunised for the purposes of accessing the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement. These include:
For more information on Australia’s National Immunisation Program Schedule of recommended vaccines see Immunise Australia Program Website
For further information about the changes to payments to families see Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Website

Information for customers about changes to the Family Tax Benefit Part A and the Maternity Immunisation Allowance can be found at Department of Human Services Website

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What changes are being made to the National Immunisation Program Schedule?

A new combination vaccine MMRV for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (“chickenpox”) for children aged 18 months will be added to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule from 1 July 2013. The addition of MMRV to the NIP will replace individual doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (currently scheduled for 4 year olds) and the chickenpox vaccine (currently scheduled for 18 month olds).

This will reduce by one the total number of injections currently provided as part of the program. Children will be protected against measles, mumps and rubella 2.5 years earlier than under the existing schedule.

The meningococcal C, pneumococcal and varicella (“chickenpox”) vaccines are currently listed on the National Immunisation Program schedule. These vaccines will be added to the list of immunisations that children need to receive to be assessed as fully immunised. The expansion of the definition of “fully immunised” will reinforce the importance of these vaccines by linking them to payments to families and immunisation providers.


How will these changes affect me if my child has already had their 18 month vaccination varicella (“chicken pox”) but hasn’t had their four year old immunisation of MMR yet?

Children who have already received their 18 month old vaccination (“chickenpox”) will still be immunised for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) at 4 years of age. This 4 year MMR schedule point will remain until all children aged between 18 months and 4 years of age as at 1 July 2013 when the new MMRV combination vaccine is introduced, reach the age of four years, that is 31 December 2015.


What do the changes mean for immunisation providers?

Information will be provided to immunisation providers to raise awareness of the link between the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement and immunisation.

The General Practice Immunisation Incentive (GPII) provides financial incentives to general practices for monitoring, promoting and providing appropriate immunisation services to children under the age of seven years.

The aim of the GPII is to encourage at least 90 per cent of practices to fully immunise at least 90 per cent of children under seven years of age attending their practices. From 1 July 2013, the meningococcal C, pneumococcal and varicella (‘chickenpox’) vaccines will be added to the list of immunisations that children need to receive to be fully immunised, which is linked to payments to providers.


How will immunisation providers be informed about these new changes?

The Department of Health and Ageing in consultation with state and territory health departments, Medicare Australia and peak medical groups will be implementing an extensive communication strategy aimed at informing all immunisation providers about the changes and the proposed implementation approach. This will occur over the coming months, ensuring all providers are fully informed of the new requirements prior to commencement in 1 July 2012.


What exemptions will be available for the new immunisation conditions linked to the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement?

While the Government considers that immunisation is an important health measure for children and families, existing exemptions will continue to be available.

A child may have a temporary or permanent exemption if a recognised immunisation provider determines that receiving the vaccine is medically contraindicated. A child may also receive an exemption from the immunisation requirements if a recognised immunisation provider indicates that the parent has a conscientious objection to immunising their child.

These exemptions will also continue for Child Care Benefit.

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Definition of ‘fully immunised’ for the Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement From 1 July 2012
Age
Disease immunised against
2 monthsDiphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B
4 monthsDiphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B
6 monthsDiphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B (or at 12 months)
12 monthsMeasles
Mumps
Rubella
Hib
Hepatitis B (or at 6 months)
4 yearsDiphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Measles
Mumps
Rubella
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Definition of ‘fully immunised’ for the Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement From 1 July 2013
Age
Disease immunised against
2 monthsDiphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B
Pneumococcal
4 monthsDiphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B
Pneumococcal
6 monthsDiphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
Hib
Hepatitis B (or at 12 months)
Pneumococcal
12 monthsMeasles
Mumps
Rubella
Hib
Hepatitis B (or at 6 months)
Meningococcal C
18 monthsMeasles
Mumps
Rubella
Varicella
Pneumococcal*
4 yearsDiphtheria
Tetanus
Pertussis
Polio
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Page last modified: 14 October, 2013