Immunisation - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the register?

The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is a national register that records vaccines given to all people in Australia.

How can parents access the AIR Immunisation History Statement?

The AIR automatically sends an Immunisation History Statement to parents in the mail after the child completes their 4 year old immunisations and the GP/nurse sends the information to the AIR.

Parents may obtain a copy of their child's immunisation details at any time by:

Students aged 14 years and over can request their own Immunisation History Statement from the AIR by using or creating their own Medicare online account through MyGov.

What if a child was vaccinated overseas?

Overseas immunisation records cannot be accepted by schools or early childhood education services to demonstrate compliance with the requirements.

The parent should take their child’s overseas immunisation records to a GP and ask them to report the vaccines to the AIR using the AIR Immunisation History Form. Overseas records must be translated into English before they can be recorded on the AIR. When the child’s AIR record has been updated with their overseas immunisations, the parent can access their child’s updated AIR Immunisation History Statement by logging on to their MyGov account or calling the AIR on 1800 653 809.

Can a student be enrolled without vaccination records?

In an approved early childhood education service, an enrolment cannot proceed without vaccination records.

In a school, an enrolment can proceed without vaccination records. Any vaccination records obtained overseas may be recorded by a school for the school’s own information, but are insufficient on their own without AIR documentation to demonstrate compliance with the requirements. These children will be considered unimmunised and must be recorded as such in the school’s immunisation register. They may be excluded from school if there is an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease at the school or if they come into contact with a person with a vaccine preventable disease, even if there is no outbreak at the school.

What immunisations are required to be considered fully vaccinated? 

A child is considered fully vaccinated if they are following the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule. The NIP schedule for all Australians can be found on the Australian Government’s Department of Health website.

Do students in OSHC services need to be vaccinated?

No - While Out of School Hours Care services (i.e. for school aged children) are regulated under the Early Childhood Education and Care provisions of the National Law, the NSW Health website notes that children who are enrolled in formal schooling, and who are attending before or after school care (either on school campuses or externally), are subject to requirements for primary school children and are exempt from the immunisation/enrolment requirements that apply to early childhood education services such as preschools and long day care centres.

What immunisation requirements apply to Prep or Kindergarten minus 1 classes?

The immunisation requirements for Primary Schools apply to children in school-based Prep or Kindergarten minus 1 classes.

Do the new requirements apply to existing enrolments in secondary schools?

No - New requirements to collect immunisation history information apply only to new enrolments from 1 April 2018 regardless of age.

However, while there is no requirement for schools to collect immunisation histories for secondary students already enrolled in the school, schools may wish to consider collecting any Immunisation History Statements that are currently available from existing students, as any student without the appropriate records will be considered to be unimmunised.

NSW Health advice confirms that “in the event of an outbreak, or if an unimmunised enrolled student comes into contact with a vaccine preventable disease, then the public health unit medical officer will work with the school to take appropriate action to minimise the risk of transmission, including potentially excluding children listed as unimmunised. As students enrolled since 1 April 2018 move through the school years, this will progressively become less of an issue”.

Where schools are considering collecting vaccination information for existing students, schools may consider undertaking a risk-based approach to the collection of this information. For example, prioritising Stage 6 students to minimise the risk of any disruptions during their HSC year.

Are K-12 schools required to seek an Immunisation History Statement for students moving from the school’s primary years to secondary years?

No – These students are not considered to be new enrolments.

Do the requirements apply to students over the age of 18 in schools?

Yes - The requirements apply to all new enrolments in schools, regardless of age.

Do secondary students require vaccinations in addition to those required for primary students?

No – For the purposes of enrolment requirements, the vaccinations required by NSW Health for secondary students are the same as those for primary students, and are usually completed by age 5 (or later if on a recognised catch-up schedule). However, some additional vaccinations are recommended but are not compulsory for secondary students. Information about vaccination schedules for secondary school students is available here.