Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I immunise my child?
The process of immunisation protects your child from some serious diseases that are in our community. By immunising against them, the likelihood of your child being affected by these diseases is dramatically reduced and if as a community we are vigilant, we may be able to eradicate these serious diseases just as happened with small pox.
Is immunisation compulsory?
No, it is not compulsory. It is however strongly advised that your child be immunised to prevent them from catching some serious diseases that are still around in our community.
Where should I go for my child’s immunisation?
You have a few choices. Your local Doctor, immunisation clinics, some hospitals and your local council. Ask your local childhood nurse for some information.
What is the “Maternity Immunisation Allowance” provided by the government?
The Maternity Immunisation Allowance is a payment made to mothers for children aged 18-24 months who are fully immunised. It is still possible to receive this payment if you have an approved exemption from immunisation. This allowance is given as a one off payment to families and the allowance is not income tested.
Visit the Australian Family Assistance Office for more information.
Is my Child Care Benefit affected by immunisation?
Yes, to be eligible for Child Care Benefit, your children must meet the immunisation requirements set out below. If they are under 7 years of age they must:
- be fully immunised, or
- current according to the Australian Standard Vaccination Schedule; or
- on a catch up vaccination schedule, or
- You must have an approved immunisation exemption for your child.
This does not apply to our Huggies mums in New Zealand.
What is an “Approved Exemption”?
An Approved Exemption is given when:
- An immunisation provider completes a form stating that you have been properly informed about the benefits and risks associated with immunising your child and yet you still have a conscientious objection.
- Providing a vaccine to your child would be harmful (this is very rare).
- A vaccine is temporarily unavailable or a natural immunity exists.
- You are a practising member of the Church of Christ Scientist and can provide some documentation to support this.
This does not apply to our Huggies mums in New Zealand.
Should I keep a record of my child’s immunisation?
Yes, you should take your child’s personal health book given to you shortly after birth along when having your child immunised and have this filled in. In addition, all children registered with Medicare will automatically have their immunisation details lodged with the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register. Even if you are not registered with Medicare you can still be added to the Register by an immunisation provider.
What is the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR)?
The Immunisation Register was set up in response to the decline in childhood immunisations and the increase in the number of reported cases of preventable diseases. It records details of all vaccinations given to children under the age of seven who live in Australia and can be used as a resource for parents to monitor their child’s immunisation status.
What if my child is sick when immunisation is due?
You should only delay immunisation if your child is very unwell, for example, has a fever of more than 38.5°C, diarrhoea or vomiting or severe Upper Respiratory Tract Infection. Ask your health care provider for advice.
I’ve missed the recommended time frame for immunisation, is it worth trying to catch up?
Yes, definitely. Although it is ideal to maintain the recommended time schedule it is not essential. Talk to your health care provider for more information.
Why do I need to show my child’s immunisation record when I enrol them at childcare or kindy?
This information is used in the event of an outbreak at the centre to identify those children who are at risk of contracting, or spreading, the disease. If your child has not been immunised, it is likely that they will be prevented from attending during the outbreak.
How can I make the experience less stressful?
Unfortunately immunising your child is a situation where you are being cruel to be kind and there would be few mothers who haven’t felt stressed or anxious about it. Try to put yourself at ease so that your child or baby doesn’t pick up on any negative vibes and be secure in the knowledge that it is only a momentary pain that they feel. Here are a few tips:
- Try to remember to take along their special toy, a treat, or snack for straight after the injection to divert their attention.
- You will need to firmly hold your child still during the injections. Consider taking your partner with you if you think it necessary.
- Don’t plan to do much after the vaccinations. Go home and have a restful day.
- If possible leave your “other children” with a friend so that you can focus on your child who is being immunised.
- For older children play “Visiting the Doctor” and talk about how “the needle” will stop them from getting very sick later on.
- If your child is highly anxious about needles, talk to your Doctor about using a local numbing agent prior to the visit.
There are a few good books available on how to make the experience less stressful. You might like to look out for:
- The Big Blue House Call – by Kiki Thorpe
It’s Checkup Day at the Big Blue House! Everyone is excited because Doc Hogg is making a special house call. But Ojo is afraid of getting her vaccination shot. Will she conquer her fears? Find out in this reassuring story, perfect for reading before any child’s trip to the doctor.
- The Germ Patrol: All About Shots for Tots… and Big Kids, Too! – by Neil B. Shulman M.D., Todd Stolp M.D., Robin Voss
A lighthearted and charming tale which helps children and adults understand the purpose of immunisations. The Germ Patrol… provides a unique opportunity to alleviate any fears.
Check out the Huggies BookClub for these, and more, practical parenting titles.