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Vaccinations are usually recommended at specified ages. A significant delay could mean that your baby may be at risk of some serious infections.

Baby vaccinations

Vaccination is an effective way of helping to protect your baby against some serious diseases. The immune system in babies and young children is not fully developed. Once babies are vaccinated, their bodies are better able to fight those diseases if they come into contact with them.

To get appropriate protection, it is recommended that your baby receives all recommended doses for each of the vaccine-preventable diseases. Almost all vaccines that are routinely recommended by the Australian Government are funded under the National Immunisation Program. Speak to your healthcare professional if you have any concerns or questions about vaccinating your baby.

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The recommended vaccinations listed below are based on the National Immunisation Program. The use of combination and oral vaccines minimises the number of needles your baby will receive at any one visit. For further information, please speak to your healthcare professional.

Recommended vaccinations

At this age, the Australian National Immunisation Program (NIP) provides vaccines for the following diseases per age group.

To learn more about a specific disease, click on a disease below.

*These vaccination recommendations apply to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

^Flu vaccination is not funded for all age groups, however, it is recommended that children from the age of 6 months be vaccinated.

#The 18 month whooping cough booster dose at 18 months is not funded under the National Immunisation Program.

Frequently asked questions

Why are vaccines necessary?

Vaccines help protect against specific diseases. Some viruses and bacteria can spread through the body faster than the immune system (the body’s natural defence) can fight them off, which can lead to very serious, even fatal, disease.

Vaccines help to protect your child by preparing their immune system to be ready to attack and fight off specific infections.

Can too many vaccines overwhelm a baby’s immune system?

At birth, babies are naturally exposed to thousands of bacteria, viruses and antigens (a substance that stimulates a response by the immune system) in their environment through playing, drinking and eating. Vaccines contain a small amount of antigens compared to what babies face every day. Vaccines are given for serious diseases that the immune system can’t easily fight off. So rather than overwhelming the baby’s immune system, the vaccines actually help strengthen it for specific diseases.

What are the side-effects of the vaccines?

Some side effects may be experienced after vaccination. Most side effects are mild, short-lived and clear within a few days. Common side effects can include a sore arm, fever, and pain and redness at the injection site. Severe side effects are rare. If they do occur you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

It is worth remembering that vaccines help protect against diseases that can be very serious and potentially fatal. If you have any concerns about the side-effects of vaccines, please speak to your doctor.

Do breast-fed babies need vaccinations?

Breast milk contains antibodies which help fight off infection and helps provide some protection to the baby. However these antibodies are not enough to provide protection against all infections. A baby should receive all the recommended vaccines on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) regardless of whether they are breastfed or not.

Can I delay vaccination until my child is older?

Delaying vaccination increases the amount of time your child is at risk of catching a disease. Protective antibodies that a mother transfers to her baby during pregnancy wear off in the first few months after birth, leaving the baby vulnerable to infection. In some cases, your child is adequately protected only after their immune system has been exposed to two or three doses of a vaccine. Until that time, they may be at risk of catching disease. This is why recommended vaccines are usually for specified age groups. To properly protect against disease, your child needs to receive all the recommended vaccine doses, preferably on time.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL

 

AUS/VAC/0051/15. Date of approval: April 2015.