Aboriginal immunisation recommendations
The term Aboriginal is inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Australia has had a number of immunisation programs included on the National Immunisation Program specifically for people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
Additional vaccines are recommended due to the increased risk of disease in the population.
Immunisation coverage rates are improving, but there continues to be a number of factors affecting Aboriginal immunisation coverage rates, including timeliness and identification of Aboriginal status among health service providers. For more information on how to improve timeliness of vaccination in Aboriginal children for vaccines due at 6 weeks of age, 4 and 6 months of age see the Help Me Stay Strong page .
Immunisation programs have been shown to reduce the rates of disease between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people for specific vaccine preventable diseases.
Recommendations for Aboriginal children
In addition to the vaccines recommended on the childhood schedule, Aboriginal children are also recommended to receive the following:
- Pneumococcal vaccine - at 12 months of age
- Hepatitis A vaccine - 2 doses, the first at 12 months of age followed by the second dose at 18 months of age
- annual Flu vaccine - a flu vaccine every year until the child turns 5 years of age
For more information on additional vaccines, see the Childhood Immunisation Program: Frequently asked questions.
Recommendations for Aboriginal adolescents and adults
In addition to the vaccines recommended on the adolescent and adult schedule (PDF 72KB), Aboriginal adolescents and adults are recommended to receive the following:
All pregnant women are recommended to receive a flu vaccine and whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy.
For further information on adult immunisations, including the funded shingles vaccine, see immunisation information for older people.
Where to get immunised
To receive vaccines contact your doctor, local council, community health centre or Aboriginal health centre to arrange an appointment.
Success of immunisation programs in Aboriginal children
The success of immunisation programs in Aboriginal children is evident in the decreased burden of disease and the decreased rate of hospital admissions following the introduction of the National Immunisation Program.
There still remains a gap in the immunisation coverage rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in the younger age groups. By two years of age the immunisation coverage gap increases significantly highlighting a delay in Aboriginal children getting vaccinated. Delayed immunisations leave children vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases at periods when they are most at risk.
Children are not fully protected until the completion of their full course of childhood immunisations by 4 years of age. Currently 94-95% of 4 year old Aboriginal children are considered fully immunised.