Immunisation medical exemptions

You may be able to get an exemption from having a vaccine. 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

You won't be able to get an exemption if your reason for not having a vaccine isn't valid.

These aren’t valid reasons:

  • mild illness without fever – temperature below 38.5ºC
  • family history of any adverse events following immunisation
  • 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. The people who can grant an exemption are:

  • general practitioners (GPs) that are vocationally registered, or a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) or Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
  • general practice registrars on an approved 3GA training placement
  • paediatricians
  • public health physicians
  • infectious disease physicians, or
  • clinical immunologists.

Your GP will know if they’re eligible.

Other medical practitioners working in general practice can’t give exemptions. But they can give vaccines and provide other medical services.

To grant an exemption they must:

Page last updated: 7 May 2019

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