The number of childhood injections has been reduced due to the availability of free combination vaccines from your GP from 1 November 2005.
The combination vaccines contain up to 6 vaccines in a single injection. For example, the 6-in-1 vaccine gives protection against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Other combinations contain from 2-5 different vaccines.
Combination vaccines are just as effective as separate injections and research has shown no increase in side-effects.
Different combination vaccines are being used in each state but all children will receive protection against the same infections. Your doctor will tell you which vaccines are available for your child.
Routine vaccinations are now given at birth, 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 months and 4 years.
No more polio drops
Oral poliomyelitis drops (given by mouth) have been used since 1960. The drops contain a modified live virus which is excreted in the bowel motions for up to 6 weeks. Very rarely this can cause paralysis of the patient or a close contact (in 1 in 2.4 million cases).
From 1 November, the government has funded the new 'inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine' injection (IPV), which is included in several of the new combination vaccines. IPV contains a killed virus which can't transmit polio and is safer than oral vaccine. IPV is given at 2, 4 and 6 months and 4 years and provides life-long immunity.
Free chickenpox shots
Free chickenpox vaccine is also now available from your GP when your child turns 18 months of age. A single dose only is required for long-term protection.
The vaccine is also free to children aged 10-13 years who are not immune. This dose is given either by your GP or at school (varies with the state you live in). For further information go toÂ http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.