Acknowledgement of the country

Immunisation information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health worker

Acknowledgement of Country 

SESLHD Public Health Unit acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land. We support and respect the survival of this proud culture and are committed to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. 

We would like to pay our respect to Elders of the past, present and future generations and extend that respect to all Indigenous Australians. 

My name is Sharon Brown and I work as the Aboriginal Health Worker in the Immunisation team for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in South Eastern Sydney. I can provide you with information on immunisation that are available for you and your family. 

Artwork completed by Sharon Brown in collaboration with all the staff who work at the South Eastern Sydney Public Health Unit.

The artwork represents the diversity of people who all meet together to share knowledge and that knowledge flowing out to surrounding communities. It was inspired by the Public Health Unit's appreciation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and their hard work and contribution towards improving health, especially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

What is immunisation?

  • Immunisation is a safe and helpful way of protecting you against serious and harmful diseases
  • It helps your body to build immunity to fight off and prevent from catching these disease

Why is it important for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people?

  • Vaccinations are important in keeping our mob healthy and strong
  • Vaccinating on time can help prevent catching an infectious disease and spreading the disease, which might develop into serious health problems

Aboriginal immunisation videos:



  • Register with Medicare. For more information click here.
  • When you identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander with Medicare, it can help some health services to provide you with additional care. For more information click here.
  • How to link Medicare with MyGov and print your Immunisation Statement. For more information click here
  • Registering your newborn baby with medicare. For more information click here
  • How to update your details so your whole family is covered with Medicare. For more information click here

Medicare- Aboriginal

1. NSW immunisation Schedule – free vaccinations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The NIP Immunisation schedule for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people lists all the vaccinations that are free to a certain age and ‘at risk’ groups. You will need to visit your local doctor, AMS or health services to receive these vaccinations on time and for them to be recorded onto the AIR (Australian Immunisation Register).

Click here for more information on vaccine preventable diseases. 

2. Free vaccinations for high school students

HPV: this vaccine protects against 9 types of HPV. HPV is a common virus that causes almost all cervical cancer and genital warts.

DTPA: is a Boostrix vaccination to protect against 3 serious diseases which can affect young adults – Diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus.

MenACWY: this vaccination provides protection against 4 different types (A, C, W, and Y) of Meningococcal bacteria that can cause meningitis and blood poisoning.

Click here for more information  

3. NSW Government immunisation policies 

No jab No Pay - The NSW Government introduced this policy to ensure all children are fully immunised. If your child vaccinations are not up to date or completed on time, your Centrelink payments could be withheld or reduced. Click here for more information

Childcare enrolment - All children must be up to date with vaccinations to be enrolled or attend childcare. If your child is on a catch-up schedule, the doctor must complete a form and the child will have to receive their vaccinations within that timeframe. Click here for more information

Primary and High school enrolment - All schools will ask for a copy of your child immunisation history statement when you are enrolling into primary or high school.  This is important for all schools, in case of an outbreak of diseases in the school environment and ensure they follow the steps to protect all students.

4. Catch up vaccinations

Catch up vaccinations are available for all age groups. If you did not receive all your vaccinations as a child or don’t have any proof of what vaccinations you received as a child.

Anyone aged under 20 years of age will be able to receive their catch up vaccinations free

If your child is late for childhood vaccinations you can organise with your doctor to have your child put on a catch-up schedule.

Click here for more information

1. Influenza (FLU) vaccine

Influenza is normally known as the ‘flu’, this can be a serious disease to catch and can become life-threatening. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should receive an annual flu shot to protect your mob (family) and communities. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 6 months of age will receive the flu vaccine for free.

2. Free vaccinations during pregnancy

Vaccinations during pregnancy are the best way to protect mum and bub from serious life-threatening diseases.

  • Flu (Influenza) vaccination: pregnant mum can receive the free Influenza vaccination anytime during pregnancy, to protect mum and bub against the flu “and other serious side effects of the disease’.
  • Boostrix (DTPA) vaccination: this vaccination should be given to all pregnant mums at 28 weeks of pregnancy, to provide protection to mum and bub against Pertussis (whooping cough). Which will protect bub during the first 6 weeks – 2 months of life until they receive their first vaccinations.

3. Childhood vaccination

Free childhood vaccinations are offered to babies from birth until 4 years of age to protect them against serious illnesses and diseases.

It is important all children receive these vaccinations on time to provide the best protection and prevention of getting these diseases and developing serious health problems. 

For more information on SAVE the date to vaccinate (childhood immunisation) app click here 

4. Additional Pneumococcal vaccinations

This vaccination will provide protection against bacteria that cause infection in your blood, Pneumonia, Middle ear infection (otitis media) and Meningitis.

Pneumococcal vaccine is available for free for these groups:

  • Aboriginal people aged 50 years and over
    • a dose of Prevenar 13
    • 2-12 months later – a dose of Pneumovax 23
    • At least 5 years later – another dose of Pneumovax 23
  • Children and adults diagnosed with an at risk condition after 12 months of age now receive:
    • At diagnosis – a dose of Prevenar 13
    • 2-12 months later or at 4 years of age (whichever is later) – a dose of Pneumovax 23
    • At least 5 years later – another dose of Pneumovax 23.
  • In addition to the routine childhood schedule (6 weeks, 4 months and 12 months) children 12 months old or younger who are diagnosed with an at risk condition are recommended to receive:
    • 6 Months – an additional dose of Prevenar 13
    • 4 years – a dose of Pneumovax 23
    • At least 5 years later – another dose of Pneumovax 23.

5. Meningococcal B vaccinations

  • From 1 July 2020, Bexsero (Meningococcal B vaccine) is provided free for all Aboriginal children at 6 weeks, 4 months and 12 months of age.
  • Aboriginal children less than 2 years of age can receive catch up doses of Bexsero (meningococcal B vaccine) until 30 June 2023
  • There is an increased risk of fever associated with Bexsero (meningococcal B vaccine) in children less than 2 years of age. These children are therefore recommended to receive paracetamol with each dose of Bexsero (meningococcal B vaccine). Paracetamol should be given as follows:
    • Give first dose (15 mg/kg/dose) of paracetamol within 30 minutes before, or as soon as practicable after, receiving the vaccine, regardless of whether the child has a fever.
    • This can be followed by 2 more doses of paracetamol given 6 hours apart.

6. Common side effect and reactions after vaccinations:

All vaccines are safe, however, some people may experience minor common side effects after vaccinations. These types of reactions are considered ‘normal’ and in time will go away:

  • Pain, slight swelling or redness where you received the needle
  • Mild fever

Serious allergic reactions usually happen within the 15 minutes after vaccination so it’s best to stay at the doctor’s for 15 minutes after vaccinations.

Click here for more information