Health & Safety

    Immunisation from an early age helps protect your child against serious childhood infections.

  • The Immunisation Schedule Victoria outlines the vaccines your child needs and the age at which each vaccine should be given.
  • Some groups are more at risk than others in the community and may need additional vaccines.
  • Remain in the clinic with your child for at least 15 minutes after their immunisation to be sure there are no immediate side effects.
  • Serious side effects or allergic reactions to the vaccines are rare.

Immunisation from an early age is highly recommended for all Australian children. Having your child immunised helps to protect them from the most serious child- hood infections, some of which may threaten their lives.

Routine childhood immunisations help to protect your child against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal C disease, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), rotavirus, chickenpox (varicella), measles, mumps and rubella (German measles).

The National Immunisation Program provides the routine childhood immunisations recommended for all children in Australia, free of charge. Some groups are more at risk than others in the community and may need additional vaccinations.

See your doctor or local health clinic to have your child immunised. All Victorian local councils run immunisation sessions.

Pre-immunisation checklist

Before the immunisation, you need to tell the doctor or nurse if your child:

  • is unwell (temperature over 38.5 ̊C)
  • has had a severe reaction following any vaccine
  • has any severe allergies to any other medication or substances • has had any vaccine in the past month
  • has had an injection of immunoglobulin or received any blood products or a whole blood transfusion within the past year
  • was a pre-term infant born less than 32 weeks gestation, or weighing less than 2,000 g at birth
  • as a baby, has had an intussus- ception (a blockage caused by one portion of the bowel sliding into the next piece of bowel like the pieces of a telescope)
  • has a chronic illness
  • has a bleeding disorder
  • does not have a functioning spleen
  • lives with someone with a disease or who is having treatment that causes lower immunity – examples include leukaemia, cancer or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), oral steroid medications, radiotherapy or chemotherapy
  • has a disease which lowers immunity (such as leukaemia, cancer, HIV or AIDS) or is having treatment that causes low immunity (such as oral steroid medication, radiotherapy or chemotherapy)
  • identifies as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person.

Side effects after immunisation

Immunisations are effective and safe, although all medication can have unwanted side effects. Some children may experience a reaction to a vaccine. In virtually all cases, immunisation side effects are not as serious as the symptoms a child would experience if they were to contract the disease.

The mild side effects can include a mild fever and pain at the injection site. For specific information about side effects from different doses of vaccine, ask your doctor or healthcare professional.

Managing fever after immunisation
Common side effects following immunisation are usually mild and temporary (occurring one to two days after vaccination). Specific treatment is not usually required.

There are a number of treatment options that can reduce the side effects of the vaccine including:

  • giving extra fluids to drink and not overdressing if there is a fever
  • although routine use of paracetamol after vaccination is not recommended, if fever is present, paracetamol can be given – check the label for the correct dose or speak with your pharmacist (especially when giving paracetamol to children).

Managing injection site reactions
Many vaccine injections may result in soreness, redness, itching, swelling or burning at the injection site for one to two days. A cool compress on the site and paracetamol might be required to ease the discomfort.

Concerns about side effects of immunisation
If the side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent or severe or if you are worried about yourself or your child’s condition after a vaccination, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital. Immunisation side effects may be reported to SAEFVIC, the Victorian vaccine safety and central reporting service.

You can discuss with your immunisation provider how to report adverse events in other states or territories. It is also important to seek medical advice if you (or your child) are unwell, as this may be due to other illness rather than because of the vaccination.

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