From the first day of their life, your baby will receive immunisations to protect them from a range of harmful and deadly diseases. Many of the names of the bacteria and viruses that you will come across will likely be unfamiliar to you. Once your baby receives their vaccination, it's unlikely that that disease will ever be a concern to you or them for the remainder of your lives.

How does immunisation work?

Immunisation (or vaccination or inoculation) is a simple, proven method for protecting individuals and communities against certain diseases. It works by introducing a very small, inactive or dead amount of the disease into a person's body, which allows the body to learn how to destroy it in the future. If you're uncertain or concerned about immunising your child, raise the issue with your doctor and ask for more information and guidance.

How is the immunisation schedule managed?

The Federal Government manages the schedule and it’s free for all Australians.

Immunisations begin on the day your baby is born and are scheduled for the remainder of their lives. You'll also notice that some vaccinations are given twice; the full schedule must be administered to ensure your baby's immune system is strong.

Note that some additional immunisations might be necessary depending on where you live (such as in the tropics), and others are occasionally added to the schedule as they come available. These will be advised and delivered through your state health service.

Your newborn's immunisation schedule

Birth: Hepatitis B

Six weeks to two months: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pneumococcal, rotavirus

Four months: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pneumococcal, rotavirus

See the full National Immunisation Program Schedule at the Australian Government Department of Health website.

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