Be on time
“On-time vaccination offers the best protection”
Due dates are important
Babies are vulnerable to serious and life-threatening diseases. This is why we aim to protect babies as early in life as possible.
The best time to immunise against each disease varies. A mother’s antibodies (passed onto baby during pregnancy and via breast milk) are temporary and won’t fully protect a baby against all types of vaccine preventable diseases.
This is why it is important that your baby be fully immunised within the first 6 months of life. In Australia, babies start receiving vaccines at birth and again at 6 weeks, 4 months and 6 months of age.
To be fully protected, your child will require a full course (often more than 1 dose) of vaccines at critical times.
Why on time?
For the best protection, vaccinations need to occur on time. ‘On time’ means on (or as close as possible to) the due date in accordance with the National Immunisation Program Schedule Queensland. The schedule outlines the ages at which your child should be vaccinated to get the earliest and best protection against vaccine-preventable disease.
Your child isn’t fully protected if their vaccination is overdue, even if they have been up-to-date in the past. An easy way to make sure you are on time with your child’s vaccinations is to download the free VacciDate smartphone app.
Rotavirus vaccine can’t be given after a certain age. Children who miss the cut-off for rotavirus vaccine can’t commence or complete the course, and will be at risk of contracting this serious disease. It is recommended as part of the National Immunisation Program Schedule Queensland that immunisation against rotavirus, which is three oral (swallowed) doses, be given at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. Dose 1 cannot be given after your child reaches 13 weeks of age, and dose 3 cannot be given after your child reaches 33 weeks of age. No further catch-up doses can be given after your child is 33 weeks either. So to ensure full protection, make sure your child receives all recommended doses on time.
If you are concerned that your child’s immunisation schedule is not up to date talk to your GP or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
Catch-up vaccination schedules
If your child has missed one of their scheduled vaccinations, you should be able to get them up to date again through a catch-up schedule (other than rotavirus as explained above). Talk to your GP or immunisation provider to find out if your child needs any catch-up vaccinations, to plan a schedule and update your child’s records if need be.
What if your child is unwell?
Children who are slightly unwell can still receive their vaccination. If your child has a fever over 38.5 Celsius on the day, they should not be immunised. Valid reasons not to immunise children are rare, but if you are unsure, ask your doctor.
If your child has ever had an allergic reaction or is undergoing a treatment that suppresses the immune system such as chemotherapy, check with your doctor before immunisation.