Department of Health

Adolescent vaccinations outside of school and catch-up immunisation

Adolescent Immunisation providers

Key messages

  • Adolescents who are not attending secondary school should still receive the recommended vaccinations for adolescents on the National Immunisation Program Schedule.
  • Adolescents can be vaccinated by a GP, local council, a health service or, in some cases, a pharmacist immuniser.
  • Young people under 18 years of age need parental consent for vaccination unless they are considered a 'mature minor'.
  • Some adolescents may require catch-up vaccines to make up for those they have missed.

Immunisation providers

In Victoria, adolescents and young adults (including refugees, asylum seekers and other humanitarian entrants) aged 10 – 25 years are eligible for some vaccinations free of charge under the National Immunisation Program.

While these vaccines are most often delivered by local councils in a secondary school setting, young people who are not attending secondary school, or for who prefer or need to access the vaccines in a different setting, can still access free vaccinations from the following immunisation providers.

GPs (doctors)

This will require an appointment to be made. While the vaccines are free under the National Immunisation Program, the GP may charge an appointment fee.

Nurse immunisers

Nurse immunisers are registered nurses with extra training that allows them to give vaccines to some groups.

Nurse immunisers are employed across a range of settings including local councils, general practice, hospitals, community health and occupational health services.

Free vaccines provided to adolescents under the National Immunisation Program are most often given by nurse immunisers who are employed by local councilsExternal Link .

Pharmacist immunisers

Pharmacist immunisers are registered pharmacists with extra training that allows them to give some vaccines to some groups.

Pharmacist immunisers can provide DTP and HPV vaccinations to persons 12 years of age and older and Meningococcal ACWY vaccinations to persons 15 years of age and older.

Children and young people under 18 years of age generally require parent/guardian consent to be vaccinated. Consent can be provided by the parent/guardian accompanying the young person to receive the vaccine/s.

The law recognises that as children become older and more mature, they are more capable of making their own decisions about a wide range of issues including decisions about their healthcare and wellbeing.

The law recognises that a young person may reach this stage before they are 18 years old. These young people are referred to as 'mature minors'1.

There is no specific age when a young person may be deemed a mature minor. Determining whether a young person is a mature minor requires consideration of whether they have sufficient maturity to understand the nature and effect of a decision to be vaccinated. Relevant factors include:

  • age
  • level of maturity for their age
  • understanding of the issues and consequences
  • living arrangements (independence).

A medical practitioner or other health or welfare professional who is considered to have sufficient knowledge of the young person and their history and circumstances can make this assessment based on the factors listed above.

Catch-up vaccination for adolescents

Some young people may require catch-up vaccines to bring them up to date with the vaccines provided under the National Immunisation Program.

Depending on the circumstances, planning a catch-up schedule can be a complex undertaking.

To assist, resources are available to support immunisation providers to develop catch-up vaccination plans:

Information about free catch-up vaccinesExternal Link is also available from the Department of Health and Aged Care.

1young people can be deemed to be able to provide consent for their own treatment if they meet the ‘mature minor’ or ‘Gillick principle’. This principle is enshrined in section 4 of the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic)External Link .

Reviewed 25 October 2023


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