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08 Feb 2018

On 16 August 2017 changes were made to the Australian Immunisation Register and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017. This means additional practitioners will now be able to notify medical exemptions to immunisation to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Practitioners able to notify a medical exemption to vaccination to the AIR include:

  • General Practitioners (as defined in the Health Insurance Act 1973);
  • Paediatricians;
  • Public health physicians;
  • Infectious diseases physicians; and
  • Clinical immunologists.

Practitioners play a key role in supporting patients to fulfil their vaccination requirements. In the event an individual cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, eligible practitioners are now able to notify the AIR that the individual has a medical exemption to vaccination. Medical exemptions can be notified using the AIR site.

The medical basis for vaccination exemption is based on guidance in the Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th edition. Medical exemptions to vaccination can only be issued due to a medical contraindication or natural immunity. Medical contraindications to vaccinations are rare and limited to:

Permanent

  • previous anaphylaxis to vaccine/vaccine component; or
  • significant immunocompromise (live attenuated vaccines only) OR

Temporary

  • acute major medical illness; or
  • significant immunocompromise of short duration (live attenuated vaccines only); or
  • the individual is pregnant (live attenuated vaccines only).

Natural immunity to hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella must be confirmed via laboratory testing or physician based clinical diagnosis. Exemption to a combination vaccine on the bases of natural immunity is only valid if immunity is confirmed for all vaccine antigens.

Conscientious objection (vaccination objection on non-medical grounds) is no longer a valid exemption from the immunisation requirements for certain family payments.

For more information about the AIR, visit the AIR page for health professionals or call 1800 653 809 (call charges may apply)


Published: 08 Feb 2018