Immunisation is an important health measure for children and families. It is the simplest, safest and most effective way of protecting children against harmful diseases before they come into contact with them in the community. Immunisation not only protects children, but also others in the community, by reducing the spread of disease.
From 1 January 2016, all children under 20 years old must be immunised in accordance with the National Immunisation Program early childhood schedule, be on a recognised catch-up schedule or have an approved medical exemption in order for parents to receive Child Care Benefit (CCB), Child Care Rebate (CCR) and the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A end-of-year supplement.
Vaccination objection (previously known as conscientious objection) will no longer be an approved exemption from these requirements. This means if a child is not immunised and does not have an approved medical exemption, parents will not be able to access these payments.
Parents can check what vaccinations their child needs at the National Immunisation Program website or speak with their doctor as the vaccinations required are dependent on the age and vaccination status of the child.
Parents can still choose not to immunise their child, but they won’t be able to receive Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and the Family Tax Benefit Part A end-of-year supplement.
The choice not to vaccinate on the grounds of vaccination objection is not supported by public health policy or medical research.
To find out more about these changes, visit the Department of Human Services website or read the What are the immunisation requirements for Child Care Benefit (CCB)? Fact Sheet.
Immunisation catch-up arrangements
Under the Australian Government’s Immunise Australia Program there is funding available for catch-up arrangements. There are two categories:
- Children under 10 years of age can get free vaccinations, and
- if eligible, children aged 10 to 19 years can be vaccinated for free (time-limited: 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2017)
For more details, read the Immunisation Catch-up Arrangements Fact Sheet.