Schedule Splitting and Catch-Up Doses

Page last updated: 20 April 2015

Schedule splitting

Schedule splitting, where one or more vaccines are not administered at the age schedule point as recommended, is not encouraged in Australia.

Research shows vaccines that have been delayed due to schedule splitting do not achieve as high coverage as vaccines administered at the appropriate age point.

Vaccines that have been scheduled to be given at the same age schedule point have been demonstrated to be safe and effective when given at the same visit.

Catch-up doses

Some children may miss doses of routine childhood vaccines and they should be vaccinated using an appropriate catch up schedule as soon as possible. For technical information please refer to the Australian Immunisation Handbook (10th edition 2013)

National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination Program-catch-up doses

The Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer provides advice for immunisation providers in making a decision on whether to revaccinate a person who has received doses of HPV vaccine at less than the recommended minimum intervals. The guidance has been developed in consultation with the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance and other immunisation experts, based on available evidence.

Clinical advice for immunisation providers regarding the use of Menitorix® in delivering catch-up vaccinations

In July 2013, the combined Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and meningococcal serogroup C (MenC) vaccine, Menitorix®, was added to the National Immunisation Program Schedule at 12 months of age. This combination vaccine replaced the single dose of monovalent meningococcal C conjugate vaccine (MenCCV) and the booster dose of monovalent Hib vaccine previously scheduled at 12 months of age – meaning that one less injection is required at this schedule point.

However, due to the use of the combination vaccine, issues may arise when planning catch-up vaccinations for either MenC or Hib. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommendations for planning catch-up vaccination schedules using the Hib-MenCCV combination vaccine, Menitorix®, are provided in the full clinical advice. Examples of acceptable approaches to a catch-up schedule for one catch-up scenario are provided in Table 1

Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella catch-up doses

From 1 July 2013, as a part of a transitional catch-up arrangement, children who have already received their 18 month old varicella vaccination (for chickenpox) will still receive measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) at 4 years of age. The catch up program will operate until 31 December 2015 to ensure all children aged between 18 months and 4 years receive the second dose of MMR.