On this page

  1. Pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax 23 and Prevenar 13) - There are changes to the timing and type of pneumococcal vaccine for some at risk groups, adults and Aboriginal people.
  2. Meningococcal B vaccine (Bexsero) - This vaccine is now funded for Aboriginal children and some at risk people.
  3. Meningococcal ACWY (Nimerix) - This vaccine is now funded for some additional at risk people.
  4. Haemophilus influenzae type b (ACT-Hib) - This vaccine is now funded for some additional at risk people.

Pneumococcal

What is pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease is caused by infection with the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. Infection can cause a variety of diseases including: pneumonia (infection of the lungs), otitis media (infection of the middle ear) and meningitis (infection of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord).
 

What has changed in relation to the pneumococcal vaccine?

There have been a number of changes in recommendations for pneumococcal vaccination. These include:

  • The list of conditions associated with an increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease has been combined into one list i.e there is no longer a category A and category B list.
  • The number of doses of Pneumovax 23 that people receive in a lifetime is now two.
  • Non-Aboriginal adults with no risk factors now receive a single dose of Prevenar 13 at 70 years of age (the single dose of Pneumovax 23 at 65 years is no longer recommended or funded). This vaccine is not needed every year. It is a one-off dose.
  • Aboriginal people aged 50 years and over now receive:
    • At 50 years or 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.t least 5 years later: another dose of Pneumovax 23
  • In addition to the routine childhood schedule, children 12 months old or younger who are diagnosed with an at risk condition are recommended to receive:
    • 6 months of age - an additional dose of Prevenar 13
    • 4 years of age - a dose of Pneumovax 23 
    • 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
Immunisation providers should check the online Australian Immunisation Handbook for changes.
 

How do I know if I am recommended and/or funded to receive pneumococcal vaccine?

The online Australian Immunisation Handbook has a list of conditions that are recommended to receive pneumococcal vaccine. The Australian Department of Health website has a list of conditions that are funded to receive pneumococcal vaccine.
 

Can I have Prevenar 13 at the same time as Zostavax?

Yes. If you are aged 70 years or over you can receive both Zostavax and Prevenar 13 for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). It is safe to receive both vaccines at the same visit and these will usually be given in separate arms.
 

Can I have Prevenar 13 at 70 years of age if I had Pneumovax 23 when I was 65?

Yes. You should receive a single one-off dose of Prevenar 13. If you previously had Pneumovax 23 you should wait at least 12 months before you have Prevenar 13.
 

Why are the pneumococcal vaccines not funded for all at risk groups?

The pneumococcal vaccines recommended for many of those with risk conditions are now funded under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for children and adults. However, for other risk conditions, where the rate of disease is not sufficiently high enough to be cost-effective, people will not be eligible to receive the recommended pneumococcal vaccines under the NIP.
 

Who is the vaccine funded for?

Pneumococcal vaccines are funded for people who are the most at risk of serious disease.  A list is provided on the Australian Department of Health website.
 

Where can I get more information about Pneumococcal disease?

See the pneumococcal disease fact sheet for more information.
 

Meningococcal B

What is Meningococcal B?

Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is a rare but serious infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis that usually causes meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and/or septicaemia (blood poisoning). Up to 10 per cent of IMD infections are fatal even with appropriate antibiotic treatment and survivors may be left with long-term complications. There are several serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis which cause invasive disease in Australia these include: A, B, C, W and Y.
 

What has changed in relation to Meningococcal B vaccine?

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. It is also provided free for people with asplenia, hyposplenia, complement deficiency and those under going treatment with eculizumab. The number of doses required is based on the age of the person - refer to the online Australian Immunisation Handbook for further information.
 
There are other groups of people who are recommended to have this vaccine but it is not funded under the National Immunisation Program. Please refer to the online Australian Immunisation Handbook for additional information.
 

Is there a catch up period for Aboriginal children?

Yes. Aboriginal children less than 2 years of age can receive catch up doses of Bexsero (meningococcal B vaccine) until 30 June 2023. The number of doses required is based on the age of the child, refer to the online Australian Immunisation Handbook for further information.
 

Why does my child need to have paracetamol with the Meningococcal B vaccine?

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.

Why isn’t Bexsero (meningococcal B vaccine) free for everyone?

The cost-effectiveness of Bexsero (meningococcal B vaccine) has not been demonstrated in all groups. The incidence of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) caused by serogroup B is highest in young children compared with other age groups and it is about 4 times higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged <2 years than in non-Indigenous children.
 
Meningococcal B vaccines are however available for purchase from the private market.
 

Is the meningococcal B vaccine included under the Australian Government's 'No Jab, No Pay' and the NSW 'No Jab, No Play' immunisation requirements policies?

No, the meningococcal B vaccine is not assessed as part of the eligibility requirements for family assistance payments under the Australian Government’s ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy and therefore does not affect the NSW 'No Jab, No Play' requirements.
 

Can the meningococcal ACWY vaccine be administered at the same time as meningococcal B vaccine?

Yes. Bexsero (meningococcal B vaccine) can be administered at the same time as Nimenrix (meningococcal ACWY vaccine), however administration of paracetamol is recommended before and after administration of Bexsero in children aged less than 2 years of age.
 

Where can I get more information about meningococcal B

See the Meningococcal disease fact sheet for more information about meningococcal disease.
 

Meningococcal ACWY

What is Meningococcal disease?

Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) is a rare but serious infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis that usually causes meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and/or septicaemia (blood poisoning). Up to 10 per cent of IMD infections are fatal even with appropriate antibiotic treatment and survivors may be left with long-term complications. There are several serogroups of Neisseria meningitidis which cause invasive disease in Australia these include: A, B, C, W and Y.
 

What has changed in Meningococcal ACWY vaccination requirements?

From 1 July 2020, the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine is now provided free for people with asplenia, hyposplenia, complement deficiency and those undergoing treatment with eculizumab. People with ongoing risk for these diseases can also receive booster doses of the vaccine. Please refer to the online Australian Immunisation Handbook for additional information.
 
It will continue to also be provided free to all children at 12 months of age and to adolescents aged 14-19 years of age if they do not receive it at school.
 
There are other groups of people who are recommended to have this vaccine but it is not funded under the National Immunisation Program and can be purchased from the private market. Please refer to the online Australian Immunisation Handbook for additional information.

 

Where can I get more information about Meningococcal disease

See the Meningococcal disease fact sheet for more information about meningococcal disease.

Haemophilus influenzae type b

What is Haemophilus influenzae type b?

Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib) disease is caused by infection with Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria.
Infection can cause:
 
  • Meningitis (infection of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord)
  • Epiglottitis (severe swelling of the epiglottis at the back of the throat)
  • Pneumonia (infection of the lungs)
  • Osteomyelitis (infection of the bones and joints)
  • Cellulitis (infection of the tissue under the skin, usually on the face).
These conditions can develop quickly, and meningitis and epiglottitis can sometimes be fatal.
 

What has changed in relation to Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine?

From 1 July Act-HIB (the Hib vaccine) is now provided free for people greater than 5 years of age with asplenia and hyposplenia if they were not vaccinated in childhood or were incompletely vaccinated.
 

Where can I get more information about Haemophilus influenzae type b disease?

See the Haemophilus Influenzae type b fact sheet for more information about Hib disease. 
Page Updated: Friday 10 July 2020
Contact page owner: Immunisation