School Immunisation Program: Frequently asked questions for parents

When will I receive information about the vaccines offered at school?

Information is generally made available during the first few weeks of term 1. All students in Years 7, 8 and 10 will be given an information pack to take home to their parents.

The information pack provides details about the relevant diseases, the benefits of immunisation and common side effects of the vaccines which will be offered. A consent card is also included for parents to complete and return to the school. In South Australia, students may consent for themselves if they are aged 16 years or older.

What do I do with the information?

Read the information, complete all fields and sign all fields of the consent card, especially the class name, and return it to school as quickly as possible.

Only students with a completed and signed consent card, where consent has been given, will be vaccinated.

If you consent for your child to be immunised at school, discuss this with them and let them know what vaccines will be offered. Encourage your child to eat breakfast on the day of vaccination and to wear loose clothing so that the upper arm below the shoulder is easily seen (the injection is given into the upper arm).

Who will give the vaccines in school?

The school program is delivered by a variety of service providers including local councils, general practice, community health services, Aboriginal health services and private organisations. All nurses are trained and qualified in providing immunisations.

What if my child is home-schooled?

Home-schooled children can access the free vaccines. Information will be provided by the schools using the normal communication mechanisms. Alternatively, parents can contact their local council, doctor or SA Health's Immunisation Section.

Our doctor has always given my child's vaccines, so does my child have to be immunised at school?

No. If it is preferred that your doctor administer the vaccines, you will be required to ask your doctor to make arrangements with SA Health's Immunisation Section to have your child's vaccines delivered. Once your doctor has received the vaccines you can make an appointment for your child to receive them. The vaccines are free but there may be a consultation fee.

My child has already had some of the vaccines, how do I know what vaccines they still need?

If your child has had some of the recommended vaccines you can discuss further with your immunisation provider.

Why has the course of HPV vaccine been changed from two doses to one dose?

From 2023, the two dose HPV vaccine schedule provided to students in years 7 and 8 will be changed to a single dose schedule using the same Gardasil®9 vaccine. This change is in response to the latest scientific and clinical evidence that shows one dose of HPV vaccine gives the same protection as two doses for most people. People who are immunocompromised are still recommended to receive three doses. For more information, visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Why are year 7 students being vaccinated in 2023?

Following the transition of year 7 to high school South Australian students will be offered their school vaccinations in year 7 and year 10 from 2024 in line with the other States and Territories. In order for this transition to occur both year 7 and year 8 students will be vaccinated with Boostrix and Gardasil vaccines in 2023.

Where can I get immunisation records?

Immunisation records from the School Immunisation Program will be transmitted to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). You can access your child's Immunisation History Statement if they are less than 14 years of age. Students aged 14 years and older must access their own records. Further information is available from the Immunisation records and registers page.

Vaccinations will be recorded on the AIR using the individual's details registered with Medicare.

What should I do if I do not want my child vaccinated?

Please complete the student's details and tick the 'No' in the consent section of the consent card and return it to the school. This will provide information to SA Health that all students have been given the opportunity to participate in the program.

What if I change my mind after returning the consent card?

If you have said YES and wish to change to NO, consent can be cancelled by:

  • writing a note in your child's diary stating you no longer consent to your child receiving the vaccine(s)
  • contacting the immunisation provider that will be visiting your child's school
  • making sure you also tell your child you have cancelled the consent.

If you have said NO and wish to change to YES, you will need to contact the  school immunisation provider. If you are unsure of who the immunisation provider is, contact the school.

What if my child is at school but is unwell on the day of vaccination?

If the nurse assesses your child as not medically fit to receive the vaccine, you will be contacted with details about why the vaccine was not administered and where to go to receive the missed vaccine/s. 

It is important for your child to receive any missed doses of vaccine as soon as possible while they are still eligible to receive the vaccine for free.

What if I have given consent for my child but my child is absent on vaccination day?

The immunisation provider will contact you with details on where to go to receive the missed vaccines. It is important to receive any missed doses of vaccine as soon as possible while your child is still eligible to receive the vaccine for free.

What happens on vaccination day?

Your child's class will receive their vaccines at a designated time. At the time of vaccination, the nurse will ask your child a series of questions to ensure they are medically well and the vaccines can be safely given.

Following vaccination, students will receive a Personal Immunisation Record to take home. You are encouraged to keep this record so you know which vaccines your child has received.

Will my child be supervised after the vaccination?

Yes. The school will provide an area close to the vaccination team where your child will be observed for at least 15 minutes.

Where can I get more information about the School Immunisation Program?

For more information about the School Immunisation Program, contact your immunisation provider or doctor.