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 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 mothers immune system to make protective antibodies that pass through the blood into baby.
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 - Not an immunisation, but as it is an injection given at birth, I feel it is important to know this vitamin K injection 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.
Note that the Flu vaccine is recommended in addition to this schedule. It can be given from 6 months of age and is free for children aged 6 mths to 5 years old. Two doses one month apart are required in the first year only
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 - from 6 wks of age, usually 3 doses.
2. Meningococcal ACWY - this can be given early from 6 weeks of age, and is usually 3 doses. (usually a single dose is given at 12 months of age)
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. Flu vaccine - (as discussed in section above) Two doses one month apart are required in the first year only. The flu vaccine is free for kids aged 6mths - 5 yrs old.
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