Immunisation - info & resources
Evidence based information, links to reliable resources regarding vaccines before and during pregnancy and in early childhood and my recommendation for those considering additional private vaccines.
Before getting pregnant
If planning a pregnancy, it is important to be up to date with routine vaccinations such as tetanus & polio, also ensure you are up to date with flu and Covid-19 boosters.
In addition, it is recommended you see your doctor who can arrange a blood test to check your immunity against diseases that can harm the developing baby, such as measles, mumps, rubella and Chicken Pox (Varicella). These vaccines can't be given during pregnancy but can be given at least 1 month before conceiving.
Influenza, Whooping cough (Pertussis) and Covid-19 vaccines are routinely recommended and provided free during pregnancy in Australia.
Women who catch influenza (Flu) during pregnancy are more at risk of hospital admission and serious complications. Babies are also at higher risk of complications from flu, the vaccine reduces this risk and provides some protection to your newborn baby.
Whooping cough (Pertussis) vaccine is recommended for all pregnant women during each pregnancy, ideally from 20 - 32 weeks gestation but can be given up until birth. Whooping cough is a serious and life threatening illness for babies under 6 months of age. This vaccine given during pregnancy allows the mother's immune system to make protective antibodies that pass through the blood into baby, giving protection until baby can be immunised themselves.
Women who have Covid-19 while pregnant are at increased risk of severe illness and have an increased risk of pregnancy loss, premature birth & stillbirth. These risks can be lowered by vaccination against Covid-19. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to be safe at any stage of pregnancy.
Vitamin K - This is not an immunisaiton, but a vitamin injection that has been given to newborns since the 1960s in Australia. It is recommended to prevent serious bleeding known as Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB) which is a life-threatening condition in babies.
Hepatitis B vaccine
Babies are most at risk of catching hepatitis B at birth, which is why it is recommended that all babies are vaccinated against hepatitis B within 24 hours of being born.
Immunisation schedule - Victoria (routine)
Routine free childhood vaccines can be given by your local council, Maternal Child Health Nurse, some hospitals and most GP practices. (As MIWM is a brand new clinic, we are not yet able to offer immunisations but hope to do so in the near future.)
Click on the image to find out more info about immunisation and the free vaccinations available under the National Immunisation Program.
Optional vaccinations available in addition to those on the routine schedule
(you pay privately for these)
The above routine schedule only includes government funded vaccines. It is important to know that there are some additional vaccines that are recommended by the Australian Government guidelines but are not government funded. This can differ from state to state.
In Victoria, these additional vaccines include:
1. Meningococal B ("Bexsero") - from 6 wks of age, usually 3 doses.
It is recommended that children <2 years old receive a dose of paracetamol 30 mins before Bexsero, and also 6 & 12 hours after vaccination.
2. Meningococcal ACWY - although a routine vaccination at 12 months of age, this can be given early from 6 weeks of age and is usually 3 doses.
3. A second Chicken Pox (Varicella) vaccine. Usually the first dose is given at 18 months but an early dose can be given from 12 months of age, as long as the interval between doses is at least 1 month.
4. Influenza (Flu) vaccine - Two doses one month apart are required in the first year only. The flu vaccine is free for kids aged 6mths - 5 yrs old as they are at higher risk of significant illness..
My recommended schedule for those considering optional vaccines:
2 mths: routine
4 mths: routine PLUS Bexsero and ACWY
6 mths: routine PLUS Bexsero, ACWY and Flu
7 mths: flu booster
12 mths: routine PLUS Varicella (chicken pox)
18 mths: routine (includes chicken pox as a booster)
Note that Bexsero & ACWY meningococcal vaccines can be given any time from 2 mths, eg at 2, 4 and 12 mths, especially if at higher risk, eg attends daycare.
Online immunisation resources
Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation (SKAI) - Evidence-based information about the vaccines recommended for Australians, and the diseases they can prevent.
Melbourne Vaccination Education Centre (MVEC)- Immunisation information hub for the general public