Immunisation Coverage Targets
National immunisation coverage is the percentage of children in Australia who have received all the vaccines recommended for their age. Coverage data is reported using data from National Immunisation Registers. A national immunisation coverage target provides a goal against which Australia can measure its immunisation coverage. The Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011 – 2020 encourages countries to demonstrate a commitment to immunisation by setting ambitious but attainable national targets1.
Vaccination provides a direct benefit to the individuals who are vaccinated. When there is high vaccine coverage there is less disease circulating and unvaccinated people also benefit from indirect protection. This includes children too young to be vaccinated, those unable to be vaccinated for a range of valid medical reasons and those for whom vaccination has not been fully effective. When a critical proportion of the community is immunised to prevent the spread of the disease this is known as “herd immunity”.
The disease which requires the highest level of vaccine coverage to achieve herd immunity is measles as it is highly infectious. It is estimated that coverage of 92-94% is required for herd immunity from this virus2. For this reason the national aspirational immunisation coverage target has been set at 95%. This target provides sufficient herd immunity to prevent transmission of other vaccine preventable diseases and supports Australia’s contribution to achieving measles elimination in the Western Pacific Region.
- Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020
- Fine P Mulholland K. Ch 71: Community Immunity. In: Plotkin S, Orenstein W, Offit P (editors). Vaccines. 6th ed. China: Elsevier Saunders; 2013.
Immunisation register data
- Childhood Immunisation Coverage Data (AIR)
- Vaccine Objection (Conscientious Objection) Data (AIR))
- Human Papillomavirus Immunisation Coverage Data (HPV Register))
Immunisation coverage papers/surveys/reports
- Newspoll Omnibus Survey, Influenza Vaccination
- National Health Performance Authority (NHPA)
- National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS)
- National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS)
- Communicable Diseases Intelligence (CDI) journal
- Adult Vaccination Survey
Australian Immunisation Coverage Data (AIR)
The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is a national vaccination register administered by the Department of Human Services.
The Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) was established in 1996 to record vaccinations given to Australian children up to seven years of age.
In January 2016 the register expanded to show the childhood vaccinations history for adolescents up to the age of 20.
On the 30 September 2016 ACIR became the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). The AIR captures all National Immunisation Program (NIP), and most privately purchased vaccines, given to people of all ages.
Children who are recorded in the AIR and meet the definition of fully immunised are included in the reported coverage rates.
For more information regarding the expansion of the registers view the Australian Immunisation Registers web page.
National, State and Territory Immunisation Coverage Reports
- Current national, state and territory immunisation coverage data for all children
- Current national, state and territory immunisation coverage data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
- Historical national, state and territory immunisation coverage data for all children
- Historical national, state and territory immunisation coverage data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
Primary Health Network Immunisation Coverage Reports
Primary Health Networks (PHN) have been established with the key objectives of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time. There are 31 PHNs in Australia.
- Current PHN immunisation coverage data for all and Indigenous children
- Historical PHN immunisation coverage data for all and Indigenous children
Statistical Areas Level 3 Immunisation Coverage Reports
Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3) are geographical areas for the output of regional data, and have a population of between 30,000 - 130,000. There are 351 SA3s in Australia.
- Current SA3 immunisation coverage data for all children by state and territory
- Historical SA3 immunisation coverage data for all children by state and territory
Vaccine Objection (Conscientious Objection) Data (AIR)
Until 31 December 2015 for a formal objection to be accepted into the AIR against a child’s record, a conscientious objection form must be lodged and signed by both a recognised immunisation provider and a parent or guardian. An immunisation provider must declare that the risks and benefits associated with immunisation have been explained to the parent or guardian, and that the potential dangers of a child not being immunised have also been explained.
Since 1 January 2016, only families who fully immunise their children, are on a recognised immunisation catch up schedule or have an approved medical exemption can receive family assistance payments linked to immunisation status such as childcare assistance and Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement. Conscientious objection has been removed as a valid reason for a vaccination exemption. From 1 January 2016, historical conscientious objection data only has been published on this page. For further information refer to the Department of Human Services website.
- National Vaccine Objection (Conscientious Objection) Data (1999-2015)
- State and Territory Vaccine Objection (Conscientious Objection) Data (2012-2015)
Note: The conscientious objection data on the Immunise Australia website relates to all children registered in AIR (0-seven years old) at a point in time. Conscientious objection data contained in the NHPA Healthy Communities: Immunisation rates for children, report refer only to the children aged one, two or five years.
Human Papillomavirus Immunisation Coverage Data (HPV Register)
The National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination Program is supported by the National HPV Vaccination Program Register which plays an essential role in monitoring and evaluating the program. The HPV Register was established in 2008 to:
- record details about HPV vaccination given in Australia;
- issue reminders for any incomplete course of HPV vaccination;
- issue confirmation that a course of HPV vaccination is complete;
- contact vaccine recipients if booster doses are required in the future; and
- evaluate the impact of the National HPV Vaccination Program on rates of HPV related cancers.
HPV immunisation coverage data
- National and state and territory HPV immunisation coverage rates are available on the National HPV Vaccination Program Register website.
Newspoll omnibus survey, influenza vaccination
The Newspoll Omnibus is a weekly multi-client telephone survey of 1,200 Australian adults. In June 2014, the Department of Health commissioned a Newspoll Survey on adults receiving the seasonal influenza vaccine. The Newspoll Omnibus Survey, Summary Report can be accessed below.
- Newspoll Omnibus Survey, Summary Report, 23 June 2014 (PDF 874 KB)
- Newspoll Omnibus Survey, Summary Report, 23 June 2014 (Word 438 KB)
National Health Performance Authority (NHPA)
The National Health Performance Authority (NHPA), an independent agency that began operations in 2012, provides nationally consistent, locally relevant and comparable information about health care services in Australia. NHPA Healthy Communities: Immunisation rates for children, shows the percentages of children who are fully immunised at one year, two years and five years of age, and how these rates compare between local areas across Australia.
The following reports can be accessed at My Healthy Communities.
- NHPA Healthy Communities: Immunisation rates for children 2011-12 Report
- NHPA Healthy Communities: Immunisation rates for children 2012-13 Report
National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS)
The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) plays a prominent role in the analysis and reporting of data from the AIR, and the use of these data for research, surveillance and evaluation. AIR data also contributes to a range of other activities undertaken at the NCIRS, including program evaluation and disease modelling.
Immunisation coverage reports published by NCIRS can be accessed at NCIRS Immunisation coverage reports.
The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS)
The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) was established in 1990 and coordinates the national surveillance of more than 50 communicable diseases. Computerised, de-identified unit records of notifications are supplied to the Department of Health for collation analysis and publication.
Information on the NNDSS and communicable disease surveillance reporting can be accessed at National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.
Communicable Diseases Intelligence (CDI) journal
The Communicable Diseases Intelligence (CDI) journal is a quarterly publication which provides information on the epidemiology of communicable diseases in Australia, including surveillance, adverse event reporting, prevention and control.
The adverse events following immunisation surveillance aims to monitor vaccine and immunisation program safety. Ongoing surveillance of adverse events following immunisation, and regular analysis and reporting of these data, are integral to the management of immunisation programs. An 'adverse event following immunisation' is defined as any serious or unexpected adverse event that occurs after a vaccination has been given which may be related to the vaccine itself or to its handling or administration. An AEFI can be coincidentally associated with the timing of immunisation without necessarily being caused by the vaccine or the immunisation process. Adverse event surveillance reports are published annually and can be accessed at the Department of Health website.
Adult Vaccination Survey
Population surveys have been undertaken to estimate vaccination coverage in the adult population in Australia.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) conducted a survey of Australians aged 18 years or older, during November and December 2009. Participants in the survey were asked about their recent experience of influenza and pneumococcal vaccination, and about their medical and socio-demographic status. Due to the epidemic of pandemic (H1N1) influenza (commonly known as ‘swine flu’), and subsequent support for vaccination of people against this epidemic from September 2009, this survey included questions on vaccination status of H1N1 influenza. The survey also included questions on pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination for adults.
The Public Health Information Development Unit
The Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU) is committed to improving population health outcomes by providing data that helps governments and researcher to monitor and introduce programs to increase the equality of health and wellbeing across Australia.
The PHIDU offers free online access to a comprehensive range of data broken down to national, jurisdictional, regional and small area levels across Australia. Socioeconomic and geographical variations in health are highlighted in interactive atlases and graphs, and supported by data tables and metadata. Where available, data are analysed by age, sex and Indigenous status.
PHIDU invites you to explore the data and use it freely in your research, study, planning, teaching, policy-making, communications and conversation.
Please note that PHIDU data can only be used for non-commercial purposes and are provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia licence.