AIR – Immunisation medical exemptions

There must be a valid medical reason not to get a vaccine.

The only reasons are if you:

  • had anaphylaxis after a previous dose of a vaccine
  • had anaphylaxis after a dose of any component of a vaccine
  • have a significant immunocompromise - for live vaccines only
  • have natural immunity - for hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox only

Reasons that don’t count

These aren’t valid reasons for an exemption:

  • mild illness without fever - temperature below 38.5ºC
  • family history of any adverse events following immunisation
  • past history of convulsions
  • treatment with antibiotics
  • treatment with locally acting steroids - inhaled or low dose topical
  • replacement corticosteroids
  • asthma, eczema, atopy, hayfever or snuffles
  • previous infection with the same pathogen
  • prematurity - vaccination shouldn’t be postponed and can be given if the infant is medically stable
  • history of neonatal jaundice
  • low weight in an otherwise healthy child
  • neurological conditions, including cerebral palsy and Down syndrome
  • contact with an infectious disease
  • child’s mother is pregnant
  • child is being breastfed
  • woman is breastfeeding
  • recent or imminent surgery

Who can grant an exemption

Not everyone who can give a vaccine can grant an exemption. These can only be given by a:

  • general practitioner (GP) that is vocationally registered, or a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), or Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
  • paediatrician
  • public health physician
  • infectious disease physician, or
  • clinical immunologist

Your general practitioner will know if they are on the vocational register.

Other medical practitioners working in general practice can’t give exemptions, but please be assured they’re eligible to give vaccines and provide other medical services.

They must:

Page last updated: 19 October 2017