Acknowledgement of the country

Immunisation information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health worker

Acknowledgement of Country 

SESLHD Public Health Unit acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land. We support and respect the survival of this proud culture and are committed to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. 

We would like to pay our respect to Elders of the past, present and future generations and extend that respect to all Indigenous Australians. 

My name is Sharon Brown and I work as the Aboriginal Immunisation Health Worker for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in South Eastern Sydney. I can provide you with information on immunisation to help to stay on track of you and your family's vaccinations. 

Artwork completed by Sharon Brown in collaboration with all the staff who work at the South Eastern Sydney Public Health Unit.

The artwork represents the diversity of people who all meet together to share knowledge and that knowledge flowing out to surrounding communities. It was inspired by the Public Health Unit's appreciation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and their hard work and contribution towards improving health, especially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

What is immunisation?

  • Immunisation is a safe and helpful way of protecting you against serious and harmful diseases
  • It helps your body to build immunity to fight off and prevent from catching these disease

Why is it important for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people?

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health needs to be improved, to help our mob stay healthy and strong
  • If you are not vaccinated on time, there is a higher risk of catching an infection and spread of diseases, which might develop into serious health problems

1. NSW immunisation Schedule – free vaccinations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The NSW immunisation Schedule lists all the vaccinations that are free to a certain age and ‘at risk’ groups. You will need to visit your local doctor, AMS or health services to receive these vaccinations on time and for them to be recorded onto the AIR (Australian Immunisation Register).

Click here for more information

2. Free vaccinations for high school students

HPV: this vaccine protects against 9 types of HPV. HPV is a common virus that causes almost all cervical cancer and genital warts.

DTPA: is a Boostrix vaccination to protect against 3 serious diseases which can affect young adults – Diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus.

MenACWY: this vaccination provides protection against 4 different types (A, C, W, and Y) of Meningococcal bacteria that can cause meningitis and blood poisoning.

Click here for more information  

3. NSW Government immunisation policies 

No jab No Pay - The NSW Government introduced this policy to ensure all children are fully immunised. If your child vaccinations are not up to date or completed on time, your Centrelink payments could be withheld or reduced. Click here for more information

Childcare enrolment - All children must be up to date with vaccinations to be enrolled or attend childcare. If your child is on a catch-up schedule, the doctor must complete a form and the child will have to receive their vaccinations within that timeframe. Click here for more information

Primary and High school enrolment - All schools will ask for a copy of your child immunisation history statement when you are enrolling into primary or high school.  This is important for all schools, in case of an outbreak of diseases in the school environment and ensure they follow the steps to protect all students.

4. Catch up vaccinations

Catch up vaccinations are available for all age groups. If you did not receive all your vaccinations as a child or don’t have any proof of what vaccinations you received as a child.

Anyone aged under 20 years of age will be able to receive their catch up vaccinations free

If your child is late for childhood vaccinations you can organise with your doctor to have your child put on a catch-up schedule.

Click here for more information

1. Influenza (FLU) vaccine

Influenza is normally known as the ‘flu’, this can be a serious disease to catch and can become life-threatening. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should receive an annual flu shot to protect your mob (family) and communities. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 6 months of age will receive the flu vaccine for free.

2. Free vaccinations during pregnancy

Vaccinations during pregnancy are the best way to protect mum and bub from serious life-threatening diseases.

  • Flu (Influenza) vaccination: pregnant mum can receive the free Influenza vaccination anytime during pregnancy, to protect mum and bub against the flu “and other serious side effects of the disease’.
  • Boostrix (DTPA) vaccination: this vaccination should be given to all pregnant mums at 28 weeks of pregnancy, to provide protection to mum and bub against Pertussis (whooping cough). Which will protect bub during the first 6 weeks – 2 months of life until they receive their first vaccinations.

3. Childhood vaccination

Free childhood vaccinations are offered to babies from birth until 4 years of age to protect them against serious illnesses and diseases.

It is important all children receive these vaccinations on time to provide the best protection and prevention of getting these diseases and developing serious health problems. 

For more information click here 

4. Additional Pneumococcal vaccinations

This vaccination will provide protection against bacteria that cause infection in your blood, Pneumonia, Middle ear infection (otitis media) and Meningitis.

Pneumococcal vaccine is available for free for these groups:

  • Aboriginal people aged 15- 49 years old (with Medical condition)
  • Aboriginal people aged 50 years and over
  • Anyone aged 65 years and over

5. Common side effect and reactions after vaccinations:

All vaccines are safe, however, some people may experience minor common side effects after vaccinations. These types of reactions are considered ‘normal’ and in time will go away:

  • Pain, slight swelling or redness where you received the needle
  • Mild fever

Serious allergic reactions usually happen within the 15 minutes after vaccination so it’s best to stay at the doctor’s for 15 minutes after vaccinations.

Click here for more information