Did you know there are additional vaccines recommended by vaccine experts that are available for private purchase? They are not free as they are not listed on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) or funded by the government. Most councils will offer some additional vaccines for purchase or alternatively all these vaccines are available for purchase with a prescription from your GP.

Influenza vaccine

Influenza vaccine is recommended annually for everyone from the age of 6-months.

Who is eligible for the free vaccine?

  • Influenza vaccine is routinely funded for all children aged 6-months to less than 5-years of age, all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people ≥ 6-months of age, pregnant women and for people with specific medical risk factors who are at risk of complications from influenza, regardless of age.

Recommended but not funded:

  • For children (> 5-years), adolescents and adults. Influenza vaccines can be purchased and administered at most council community immunisation sessions or alternatively with a prescription from your GP or from pharmacist immunisers for people aged 10-years and over.
  • Children less than 9-years of age require 2 doses, 1 month apart, in the first year they receive the vaccine.

Resources:

Meningococcal vaccines

Meningococcal ACWY

Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccine is recommended for any person who wants to protect themselves against invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) and can be administered from as early as 6-weeks of age. MenACWY provides protection against four strains of meningococcal disease, A, C, W and Y.

Who is eligible for the free vaccine?

  • A single dose of Nimenrix® is currently provided at 12-months of age on the National Immunisation Program (NIP)
  • Catch-up dose for any person aged under 20 years who did not receive a meningococcal C containing vaccine at 12-months of age
  • Young people aged 15 to 16-years or in Year 10 of secondary school as a school based vaccine program
  • All young people aged 15-19 years of age who have not received the vaccine at secondary school
  • People of all ages with some specified medical conditions that increase the risk of IMD (complement deficiency, current or future treatment with eculizumab, asplenia) [see resources].

Recommended but not funded:

Some local councils offer Nimenrix® (Meningococcal ACWY) as a fee for service if patients wish to be protected but do not meet the criteria on the NIP. Alternatively, this vaccine is available at the GP on private prescription.

Meningococcal B 

Meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine provides protection against B strain meningococcal disease and can be administered from as early as 6-weeks of age.

Who is eligible for the free vaccine?

  • People of all ages with some specified medical conditions that increase the risk of IMD (complement deficiency, current or future treatment with eculizumab, asplenia) [see resources]
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants from 2-months of age [see resources]

There are currently 2 vaccines available on the private market for the protection of meningococcal B disease.

  • Bexsero® is for use from 6-weeks of age
  • Trumenba® is licensed for use in ≥ 10-years of age

Meningococcal B vaccines brands are not interchangeable.

Some local councils offer Bexsero® as a fee for service if patients wish to be protected but do not meet the criteria on the NIP. Alternatively, this vaccine is available at the GP on private prescription.

Resources:

Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine

2 doses of varicella-containing vaccine provide 15-20% more protection against (mild) breakthrough varicella (chickenpox) in children <14 years of age, however a 2nd dose is not included on the National Immunisation Program schedule.

Who is eligible for the free vaccine?

  • A single dose of the live-attenuated varicella vaccine is currently funded on the NIP for children at age 18 months of age in a combined measles-mumps-rubella-chickenpox (MMRV) vaccine.
  • For those ≥ 14 years of age, 2 doses (administered 4 weeks apart) are required for the protection of non-immune individuals.
  • MMRV combination vaccine is not recommended for use in people from >14 years of age.

Recommended but not funded

  • If parents or carers wish to minimise the risk of breakthrough varicella in children <14 years of age, a 2nd dose of varicella-containing vaccine is recommended and can be purchased at some council community immunisation sessions or purchased by prescription from the GP.
  • Children can receive a chickenpox vaccine from as young as 12 months of age. This can provide earlier protection against varicella, which may be appropriate in the context of childcare, travel or a varicella outbreak. There is no safety concern if the child still receives the dose scheduled at 18 months of age.
  • The minimum interval between doses of varicella-containing vaccine is 4 weeks.

Resources:                           

Special risk groups

Individuals that are at higher risk of vaccine preventable diseases (VPD) are classified as ‘special risk’ groups in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

This includes populations at special risk (e.g. Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders) and those with additional vaccine requirements (e.g. maternal vaccination; preterm infants). It also has detailed sections on those at special risk because of immune suppression (disease and/or therapy) e.g. Asplenia, cancer/chemotherapy.

Resources:

Additional resources

Further information about childhood vaccination can be found at:

Authors: Georgina Lewis (SAEFVIC Clinical Manager, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute), Francesca Machingaifa (SAEFVIC Research Nurse, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and DHHS Immunisation Nurses (Immunisation Section, Health Protection Branch, Department of Health and Human Services). 

Reviewed by: Francesca Machingaifa (SAEFVIC Research Nurse, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and Georgina Lewis (SAEFVIC Clinical Manager, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Date: July 2020

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.