Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020) Immunisation and vaccination, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 29 May 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). Immunisation and vaccination. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/immunisation-and-vaccination
Immunisation and vaccination. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 23 July 2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/immunisation-and-vaccination
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Immunisation and vaccination [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020 [cited 2022 May. 29]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/immunisation-and-vaccination
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2020, Immunisation and vaccination, viewed 29 May 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/immunisation-and-vaccination
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Immunisation is a safe and effective way to protect against harmful communicable diseases and, at the population level, prevent the spread of these diseases among the community. Several vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, rubella and diphtheria, are now rare in Australia as a result of Australia’s high immunisation rates. See Infectious and communicable diseases.
The Australian Government provides free vaccines to eligible people, including young children, older Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and others who are at greater risk of serious harm from vaccine-preventable diseases, such as pregnant women. Additional vaccines may also be funded through state and territory programs, through the workplace or bought privately by prescription.
It is important to maintain high immunisation rates to ensure that these diseases cannot spread through the community.
The Burden of Vaccine Preventable Diseases in Australia study estimated the immediate and future burden of newly diagnosed cases of disease (including premature death) and found that the rate of burden had decreased by nearly a third between 2005 and 2015. The decrease was driven by falls for diseases for which vaccines have been introduced in the past 20 years, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), pneumococcal disease and rotavirus (Table 1). The rate of burden decreased considerably among infants, children, and adolescents and young adults—age groups which are the focus of national and state and territory vaccination programs (AIHW 2019).
Year widespread vaccination introduced
Number of cases
DALY per 100,000 population
2007 for girls, 2013 for boys
2001 for at-risk infants, 2005 for all infants and those aged 65 and over
Early 1980s for at-risk groups, 2000 for all infants
DALY disability-adjusted life years (see Glossary)
Note: Rates age-standardised to the 2001 Australian population.
All Australian children are expected to have received specific immunisations by a certain age according to the National Immunisation Program Schedule. Fully immunised status is measured at ages 1, 2 and 5 and means that a child has received all the scheduled vaccinations appropriate for their age.
In 2019, the immunisation rate for all children aged 1 was 94.3%; it was 91.6% for 2 year olds and 94.8% for 5 year olds (Figure 1). For Indigenous children in 2019, the national immunisation rates for children aged 1 and 2 were lower than the rates for all children. In contrast, the immunisation rate for 5 year old Indigenous children was higher than the rate for all children (96.9% compared with 94.8%).
The chart shows the percentage of children that are fully immunised has improved over time, and have remained relatively stable above 90%. A national immunisation target has been set at 95% of all children to be fully immunised.
Figure 1 data table (124KB XLSX)
The immunisation rate for:
See Health of children.
A national HPV vaccination program (using the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, which protects against 4 types of HPV) was introduced for school-aged girls in 2007 and extended to boys in 2013. A new vaccine was introduced in 2018, protecting against 9 types of HPV. Of young people turning 15 in 2017, around 80% of girls and nearly 76% of boys were fully immunised against HPV (Department of Health 2020b).
Adolescent vaccination is administered by state and territory health services through school vaccination programs which also include vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough and meningococcal disease.
See Health of young people.
In 2009, the Adult Vaccination Survey estimated that almost 3 in 4 (75%) Australians aged 65 and over were vaccinated against influenza. The same survey showed that pneumococcal vaccine coverage among the target population was 54% (AIHW 2011).
To date there has been no regular and nationally consistent source of data with which to estimate vaccination coverage in adolescents and adults. Population surveys have previously been used to estimate vaccination coverage in the adult population or in selected population groups.
The Australian Immunisation Register is a national register that details all funded vaccinations and most privately purchased vaccines given to individuals of all ages who live in Australia. It was set up in 1996 as the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register and renamed following its expansion in 2016. Adult vaccination data captured in the register will be reported when reliable coverage estimates can be obtained.
For more information on immunisation and vaccination, see:
Visit Immunisation for more on this topic.
AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2011. 2009 Adult Vaccination Survey: summary results. Cat. no. PHE 135. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 15 November 2019.
AIHW 2019. The burden of vaccine preventable diseases in Australia. Cat. no. PHE 263. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 15 November 2019.
Department of Health 2020a. Childhood immunisation coverage. Canberra: Department of Health. Viewed 19 February 2020.
Department of Health 2020b. Historical Human Papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation coverage rates. Canberra: Department of Health. Viewed 18 November 2020.
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