Department of Health

Catch-up vaccination aims to provide optimal protection against disease as quickly as possible by completing a person’s recommended vaccination schedule in the shortest but most effective time frame.

Key messages

Follow the three steps below to develop a catch up vaccination plan.

Step 1. Check vaccination history

Access and review the person’s vaccination history to determine whether they are up to date. Refer to:

  • the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)
  • hard copy immunisation records
  • departure health check / Australian immigration health records or
  • contact their previous vaccination provider.

For migrants, refugees and other humanitarian entrants, check if overseas immunisation records (written) are available. Vaccines provided overseas may have a different name.

Encourage clients to provide a translated immunisation history if the original record is not in English. Eligible people may be referred to Free Translating ServiceExternal Link to have their immunisation records translated by an accredited translator free of charge.

Refer to the Handbook guide - Foreign language termsExternal Link , for a list of foreign vaccines by trade names.

Step 2. Start catch-up vaccination

If you cannot confirm previous vaccination, assume the person has not received that vaccine.

Refer to Catch-up vaccinationExternal Link for further details.

People without documentation of vaccination

Start a catch-up schedule, according to age. Consider:

People with documentation of vaccination

Plan a catch-up schedule. Consider:

Key considerations

Consider laboratory testing to guide catch-up vaccination for hepatitis B, MMR and varicella. Laboratory testing for any other diseases in children < 10 years is not recommended.

Offer serological testing for all migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum after arriving to:

  • people from hepatitis B–endemic countries to detect current or past infection
  • women of child-bearing age to identify those who are seronegative for rubella and need vaccination.

Build a catch-up vaccination plan based on the previous documented doses the person has received. In almost all cases, do not start the schedule again, regardless of the interval since the last dose.

Multiple vaccines can be given on the same day.

Multiple live (parental) vaccines can be given at the same time or at least 4 weeks apart.

Refer to Catch-up vaccinationExternal Link for further details.

Step 3. Record and report vaccinations

It is mandatory to record all NIP vaccinations given on the AIR.

  • Enter the individual’s immunisation history (including all overseas vaccines) onto AIR (all ages)
  • Enter vaccines administered into AIR (all ages)
  • Use correct brand name, dose number and batch number
  • Notify immunisation medical exemptionExternal Link to record evidence of natural immunity

Further information can be found in Using the Australian Immunisation RegisterExternal Link .

Provide a copy of the catch-up plan to the client/parent or medical decision maker.


Reviewed 03 January 2024


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