Immunisation aims to stop the spread of illness and disease. In Tasmania, you must legally provide your child’s schools or childcare operator information about their vaccinations.
Mandatory childhood vaccinations for children
If your child is starting school or childcare, you must provide a written statement confirming that your child is immunised against:
- chicken pox (varicella)
- haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- hepatitis B
- meningococcal infection
- pneumococcal disease
- rubella (German measles)
- whooping cough (pertussis).
How to get your child's vaccination history
There are several ways to get proof of your child’s vaccination history.
- Use their Personal Health Record (if the person administering the vaccine clearly signed their name for each vaccine administered).
- Ask your doctor or local council for signed information on their letterhead. It must list the diseases that your child has been immunised against and when.
- Use the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) statement provided to you when your child turns five years of age.
- Phone the ACIR on 1800 653 809 (if your child was immunised after January 1996).
What are the side effects of immunisation?
Some children experience minor side effects following immunisation. Common side effects of immunisation are:
- redness, soreness and swelling at the injection site
- mild fever
- being grizzly or unsettled.
Most side effects only last a short time and your child will recover without any problems. You can treat minor side effects by:
- giving your child extra fluids to drink
- not overdressing them if they are hot
- using paracetamol to help ease the fever and soreness (speak to your local pharmacy or doctor).
What can I do if my child has a serious side effect?
- It is important to remember that vaccines are many times safer than the diseases they prevent.
- Serious reactions to immunisation are very rare.
- If they do occur, please consult your doctor immediately.
Why should children be immunised?
- Immunisation is the safest and most effective way of giving protection against the disease.
- The benefit of protection against the disease far outweighs the very small risks of immunisation.
- After immunisation, your child is far less likely to catch the disease if there are cases in the community.
- If your child is immunised and gets the disease, they will not be as sick as if they are not vaccinated.
- If enough people are immunised, infection can no longer be spread, and the disease dies out altogether.
- If good immunisation rates aren’t maintained, previously eliminated diseases like polio may return.
Why do children get so many immunisations?
- Babies have protection from many infectious diseases from antibodies transferred during pregnancy.
- Immunisations are required to prevent serious infections when the antibodies wear off.
- Young children’s immune systems don’t work as well as older children and adults.
- Several immunisations are required in the first few years of your child's life.
- New vaccines may be developed against serious infections.
- Some vaccines are combined into one dose.
Are there any reasons to delay immunisation?
- There are very few medical reasons to delay immunisation.
- If your child is sick with a high temperature (over 38.5ºC) then postpone immunisation until they are well. I
- They can still be vaccinated if they have a runny nose but are not ill can be immunised.
- They can also be vaccinated while on antibiotics to recover from an illness.
Is homeopathic 'immunisation' recognised?
No. Only conventional immunisation has been proven to provide enough protection against these diseases.
School-based immunisation program
All routine school-based adolescent vaccinations are given to girls and boys in Year 7. These include:
- diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine – one dose
- human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) – two doses**
For more information about Gardasil® 9 please refer to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) Clinical Advice.
Each year, all students receive an immunisation information booklet at school. The booklet contains:
- information about diseases
- risks and benefits of vaccination
- immunisation consent forms.
How to get your child immunised at school
- Complete and sign the consent forms, even if your child is not being vaccinated.
- Return the consent forms to the school by the due date, even if your child is not being vaccinated.
- If you need help to fill in the forms, contact your local library.
- If you need more information, contact the local council in your school's area.
- If your child misses a vaccination at school, your local council will write to you with information about getting the missed vaccination.
Where to get more information
For more information about immunisation requirements, speak to:
- your child's school or childcare facility
- your local council
- your doctor
- the family, child and youth health nurse in your local community
- phone the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.