Healthy living

Childhood immunisation

During the first few years of your child’s life, they will need a number of immunisations to offer protection against the most serious childhood infections.

If they are not immunised, babies and young children risk suffering serious complications from vaccine-preventable diseases with devastating effects. This can include amputation of a limb, hospitalisation, pneumonia, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage and death.

Young children need more vaccination doses because their immune system is still developing and vulnerable. It does not work as well as the immune system of older children or adults.

It’s important to protect babies and young children against serious vaccine-preventable diseases as early as possible.

Childhood immunisation keeps children safe. It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it.

View the childhood immunisation schedule.

Read the video transcript childhood immunisations – what to expect.

For more WA Health videos visit YouTube (external site).

Before your child is vaccinated

It is important that you are aware of information about the benefits and risks of vaccination before any vaccine is given to your child.

At your vaccination appointment your health provider will provide you with information about the particular vaccines your child will receive, and will describe any common or rare side effects that your child may experience and how they can be managed.

You might like to consider the following, and discuss this with your health provider at your appointment if you have any questions.

Mild, common illness, such as a cold with a low-grade fever, should not delay vaccination. However in some cases it is recommended that vaccination be withheld or delayed due to underlying medical conditions. Let your health provider know if your child:

  • has had a severe reaction following any past vaccination
  • has a history of severe allergy where vaccination is not recommended
  • has had a live vaccine within the last month (e.g. tuberculosis, measles, yellow fever)
  • has had an injection of immunoglobulin or whole blood transfusion in the last 3 months
  • has a disease that lowers immunity, (e.g. leukaemia, cancer, HIV/AIDS) or is having treatment which lowers immunity (e.g. steroid drugs such as hydrocortisone or prednisolone, radiotherapy, chemotherapy)
  • lives with someone who has a disease that lowers immunity or who is having treatment that lowers immunity
  • is unwell at the time of vaccination.
Vaccination rates

Western Australia (WA) is committed to the cost-effective delivery of immunisation programs under the National Immunisation Program.

Through this commitment WA pledges to maintain or improve their existing immunisation rates for the benefit of the whole community. Immunisation coverage varies across the state with some areas achieving very high immunisation rates, and others achieving well below the nationally agreed rate.

The national target for childhood immunisations in Australian is 95%. Current immunisation coverage for WA can be found here.

Vaccine preventable diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can have serious health consequences for children and others in the community.

You can help protect your child by ensuring their vaccinations are up-to-date.

More information about immunisation

Immunisation is a safe and effective way to protect your child from potentially serious diseases.

Visit the below websites for more information about immunisation:

Immunisation resources in languages other than English

Where to get help

  • See your doctor
  • Visit healthdirect or call 1800 022 222
  • Phone the Immunise Australia Hotline on 1800 671 811

Last reviewed: 25-03-2022

Public Health

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Find an immunisation provider