No Jab, No Pay: Changes to childhood immunisation requirements

Changes to childhood immunisation requirements start 1 January 2016

From 1 January 2016, parents receiving any of the below assistance payments need to ensure their child’s immunisation history is up to date:

  • Child care benefit
  • Child care rebate
  • Family tax benefit part A.

These changes will also affect those who receive Grandparent Child Care Benefit, Special Child Care Benefit or Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance. Parents and carers will be notified by Centrelink stating that they may not meet the new requirements for receiving family assistance payments.

To continue receiving these benefits, all children under the age of 20 will need to meet one of the below criteria:

  • be fully immunised, or
  • be on a recognised catch-up schedule, or
  • have an approved medical exemption.

Catch-up

All National Immunisation Program vaccines are free indefinitely for children aged up to 10. All children aged 10 to 19 years are also eligible to receive free catch-up vaccinations through the No Jab, No Pay program up to the end of 2017. All immunisations provided need to be entered on the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) (external site).

Children aged up to 10 years who require catch-up vaccinations should receive all age eligible vaccines as per the current WA Immunisation schedule

Table: Recommended catch up vaccinations for children aged 10-19 years (adapted from the Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th edition online 2015 (external site))
Vaccine (10-19 yr olds) Clinically recommended (funded) Linked to family payments (10-19 yr olds) Doses required Min interval between dose 1 and 2 Min interval between dose 2 and 3
dT ( dTpa1) Yes Yes 3 doses 4 weeks 4 weeks
Poliomyelitis (IPV) Yes Yes 3 doses 4 weeks 4 weeks
MMR Yes Yes 2 doses 4 weeks Not required
Hepatitis B– aged 10-19 years Yes Yes but only those born on or after May 2000 3 paediatric doses 1 month 2 months2
Hepatitis B– aged 11-15 years3 Yes Yes but only those born on or after May 2000 2 adult doses 4 months Not required
MenCCV Yes No 1 dose Not required Not required
Varicella vaccine
– if aged < 14 years4 5
Yes No At least 1 dose If second dose given, a 4 week interval is required Not required
Varicella vaccine
– if aged >14 years4 5

Yes No 2 doses if aged >14 years 4 weeks Not required

References

  1. One of the doses should be given as dTpa (or dTpa-IPV if poliomyelitis vaccination is also needed) and the course completed with dT.  In the unlikely event that dT is not available, dTpa or dTpa-IPV may be used for all 3 primary doses but this is not routinely recommended as there are no data on the safety, immunogenicity or efficacy of dTpa for primary vaccination (refer to also 4.12 Pertussis).
  2. For hepatitis B vaccine, the minimum interval between dose 1 and dose 3 is 4 months (refer to 4.5 Hepatitis B).
  3. Note the age groups overlap and this is an either/or, not both.
  4. Varicella vaccine is recommended for all non-immune persons. At least 1 dose should be given to those aged <14 years, and all persons aged ≥14 years should receive 2 doses. (Refer also to 4.22 Varicella.)
  5. MMRV is suitable to provide varicella vaccination in children aged <14 years. This vaccine is not recommended for use in persons ≥14 years of age. (Refer also to 4.22 Varicella.)

ACIR extension

From 1 January 2016, the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) (external site) will be expanded to capture immunisation records for all Australians aged up to 20 years.

Exemptions

From 1 January 2016, conscientious objection will no longer be a valid exemption.

In addition, notifications of medical contraindications and natural immunity on a practice letterhead will no longer be accepted

Accepted exemptions include natural immunity and medical contraindication.

Providers will need to fill in the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register Immunisation Medical Exemption Form (external PDF 109KB) and submit to the ACIR. More details are included in the form.

A letter from the Chief Medical Officer explaining these changes in more detail is currently being circulated to all immunisation providers.  

More information

Visit the Australian Department of Health for more details about No Jab No Pay (external PDF 141.85KB) and Changes to immunisation requirements for health professionals (external site).

Contact information

For queries on immunisation histories, please call ACIR on 1800 653 809 (Mon-Fri 8am-5pm)

For vaccine orders, please call 9388 4835 or email vaccineorders@health.wa.gov.au

For further assistance on catch-up schedules and translating overseas medical records, please contact the Central Immunisation Clinic on 9321 1312 or your local public health unit (Healthy WA).

Communicable Disease Control Directorate: 9388 4863