Information for vaccination providers about the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
What you need to know
The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is a national register that records vaccines given to people of all ages in Australia.
Medical practitioners, midwives and nurse practitioners with a Medicare provider number are automatically recognised as vaccination providers and are authorised to submit or get immunisation data from the AIR. If you’re not a medical practitioner, midwife or nurse practitioner with a Medicare provider number, you can apply to become a recognised vaccination provider.
Recognised vaccination providers should send their patient’s immunisation details to the AIR. A recognised vaccination provider in Australia can also record vaccines given overseas if the relevant documents are translated into English.
The AIR can only accept immunisation information from recognised vaccination providers in Australia. This means the AIR cannot accept any information from parents.
Recording information on the AIR is important. The AIR is used to:
- determine a person’s immunisation status, regardless of who immunised them
- determine a person’s eligibility for some family assistance payments
- provide an Immunisation History Statement so people can prove their immunisation status for child care, school, employment or travel purposes
- monitor immunisation coverage levels and service delivery, which can help to identify regions at risk during disease outbreaks
- measure vaccination coverage at a local, state and national level
There are risks with revaccinating against certain diseases and people can only get some vaccines once. For your patient’s safety it’s important all immunisation information is recorded on the AIR.
The AIR lets recognised vaccination providers:
- record patient immunisation information
- update or correct some data already sent to the AIR
- request reports to help identify any patients due or overdue for vaccination
- report immunisation medical exemptions and natural immunities online (certain vaccination providers only)
- get information payments for the provision of eligible vaccinations (certain providers only)
Vaccination provider information payments
Certain vaccination providers get an information payment to:
- complete a National Immunisation Program Schedule for a child under 7 years of age and record it on the AIR
- follow up and vaccinating a child under 7 years of age, who’s more than 2 months overdue for their childhood vaccinations, under the National Immunisation Program Schedule and record it on the AIR
The information payments are:
- up to $6 per completed immunisation schedule for children under 7 years of age
- $6 per completed catch-up schedule for children under 7 years of age, and
- paid by Electronic Funds Transfer on the second last Tuesday of each month
To get a payment you need to provide your bank account details when you:
- register as a vaccination provider with the AIR, or
- complete an Australian Immunisation Register Bank Account Details for Vaccination Providers form
To update your bank account details on the AIR:
- use Health Professional Online Services (HPOS), or
- complete and send us the Australian Immunisation Register Bank Account Details for Vaccination Providers form
You’ll get an immunisation payment statement summary each month. You can access the statement on the AIR site or have it posted to you. You can check or change your preferences on the AIR site.
Immunisation details submitted to AIR during the last month will be included in the Immunisation Notifications Reconciliation report. This report is on the AIR site on the second last Tuesday of each month.
Identifying overdue children
You can get a number of reports from the AIR site to help you identify children overdue for immunisation, including:
- AIR010A - AIR Due/Overdue Practice Report
- AIR011A - Due/Overdue report by locality
- AIR011B - Due/overdue report by vaccination provider
To get these reports go to accessing the AIR using HPOS.
The National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule specifies the ages people in Australia should get certain vaccines. Go to the National Immunisation Program Schedule on the Department of Health Immunise Australia Program website for more information.
State and territory health departments provide specific jurisdictional information about immunisation. For more information go to:
Immunisation medical exemptions
- general practitioners—defined by the Health Insurance Act 1973 as:
- fellows of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
- fellows of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
- on Medicare’s Vocation Register of General Practitioners
- general practice registrars on an approved 3GA training placement
- public health physicians
- infectious diseases physicians
- clinical immunologists
Other medical practitioners are not eligible to certify medical exemptions.
Reasons for immunisation medical exemption
Only certain doctors can certify medical exemptions. Doctors must give us a valid medical reason for a medical exemption.
The Department of Health’s Australian Immunisation Handbook lists valid medical reasons for immunisation medical exemptions.
The valid reasons for immunisation medical exemptions are:
- medical contraindication – use the Australian Immunisation Handbook guidelines to help you decide if a patient should be exempt from immunisation due to an approved medical condition, and
- natural immunity – in your professional opinion, your patient doesn’t need a vaccine because they have a natural immunity to the disease. Having a natural immunity to disease means they don’t need to get that vaccine to be considered up to date with their vaccinations
There are only 2 absolute medical contraindications applicable to all vaccines:
- anaphylaxis following a previous dose of the relevant vaccine
- anaphylaxis following any component of the relevant vaccine
These are not valid medical reasons for an immunisation medical 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 steroids
- replacement corticosteroids
- asthma, eczema, atopy, hay fever 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
- poorly documented vaccination history
For more information check the Australian Immunisation Handbook (Table 2.1.4).
How to notify us of an immunisation medical exemption
If you’re eligible, you can notify us of a medical contraindication or natural immunity by:
- recording it online on the AIR site
- using the Australian Immunisation Register - Immunisation medical exemption form, which outlines all the information needed to process the medical exemption
You must identify:
- the medical contraindication
- which vaccines your patient can’t have
- if the contraindication is temporary or permanent, or
- which vaccines aren’t needed due to natural immunity
If your patient has a valid immunisation medical exemption recorded on the AIR, it’ll display on their Immunisation History Statement.
Parents and guardians may use the medical exemption to meet immunisation requirements for some family assistance payments and child care or school enrolment.
An incomplete, invalid or unsigned notification will be returned to you.
Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). We regularly undertake audits and make enquiries to make sure people get correct payments. If we become aware of any false or misleading information or fraudulent activity, to the extent permitted by law, the Commonwealth will pursue the relevant person(s).
People enrolled in Medicare are automatically included on the AIR. People who aren’t eligible to enrol in Medicare are added to the AIR when you submit vaccination details.
To ensure the accuracy of our data, it’s important to remind patients to notify Medicare of any change to their address and other details.
Medical practitioners, midwives or nurse practitioners with a Medicare provider number
If you’re a medical practitioner, midwife or nurse practitioner with a Medicare provider number, you’re automatically a recognised vaccination provider and authorised to submit or get immunisation data from the AIR.
Read about accessing AIR using HPOS.
Other vaccination providers
If you’re not a medical practitioner, midwife or nurse practitioner with a Medicare provider number, you can apply to become a recognised vaccination provider.
Read about registering and requesting access.
Complete the Australian Immunisation Register - Application to Register as a Vaccination Provider form and send it to your state or territory health department for approval. When we get the approved form, a unique AIR registration number is allocated to identify you as a vaccination provider.
You’ll get a letter detailing your AIR registration number. Use this number when you send immunisation details to the AIR.
Submitting immunisation information
Recognised vaccination providers should submit information to the AIR at the time of vaccination. The accuracy of the AIR depends on how quickly we get the correct information from you.
Delays in submitting data, particularly childhood immunisations, can result in incomplete Immunisation History Statements. This could result in a:
- family losing eligibility for Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate or Family Tax Benefit Part A
- delay in enrolment to childcare or school
- delay in starting some types of employment
- delay in family and friends being able to visit newborns until they can prove that they’ve had their whooping cough vaccine
Use your patient’s Medicare card and reference number to identify them on the AIR when you submit immunisation information.
You’ll need the full name, date of birth, gender and address for patients not enrolled in Medicare. This creates a record in the AIR which will be matched to their Medicare record if they become enrolled.
How to submit information
When you give a vaccine to a patient, promptly submit their details to the AIR. There are 4 ways you can submit information to the AIR:
- using your Practice Management Software (PMS) - the data transfers directly from your PMS to the AIR. Download the latest version of your PMS to ensure you have access to the latest AIR functionality and vaccine codes. Contact your software vendor if you have difficulties
- through Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) - using PKI or PRODA, you can submit data using the ‘Identify Individual’ and ‘Record Encounter’ functions
- directly into the AIR - you can submit data using the ‘Identify Individual’ and ‘Record Encounter’ functions
- manually - complete the Australian Immunisation Register Immunisation Encounter Header form with the Australian Immunisation Register Immunisation Encounter form
Keep sending data to the AIR through your state or territory health department if you already do.
Recognised vaccination providers can submit overseas immunisation information on the AIR if it’s been translated to English.
You can do this:
- online through the AIR site, or
- using an Australian Immunisation Register – immunisation history form
How to submit immunisation medical exemptions
Certain vaccination providers can certify immunisation medical exemptions:
- online through the AIR site, or
- by using an Australian Immunisation Register – immunisation medical exemption form
Medical exemptions recorded through the AIR site are automatically populated with the date you record it and can’t be changed. This means you can’t back date or forward date the request.
We take all possible care to avoid adding to the distress of bereaved families. If you know about the death of a patient, contact Medicare.
Accessing AIR using HPOS
You can use the AIR through HPOS to submit immunisation records, view immunisation histories, request reports and update provider contact details.
Help using AIR online for health professionals
Learn how to record immunisation encounters, immunisation medical exemptions and update vaccine details on the AIR.
Reports available from the AIR site
The AIR produces statistical, identified and access reports for authorised vaccination providers registered to use AIR.
National due and overdue rules for immunisation
The AIR national due and overdue rules for immunisation information are based on the Australian Immunisation Handbook, to help you better understand how the AIR works.
Immunisation stationery order forms
AIR vaccine code formats
There are vaccine codes for software products that send claims to the AIR through Medicare online claiming.
The AIR produces education modules to help you better understand how the AIR works.