Department of Health

Secondary school immunisation program - Information for secondary schools & councils

Free vaccines for Year 7 and Year 10 students are provided each year as part of the National Immunisation Program.

Role of local councils

In Victoria, councils are required under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008External Link to provide immunisation services to children living or being educated within their municipal district.

Councils work in partnership with schools to deliver an annual Secondary School Immunisation Program (SSIP), providing free vaccines for adolescents in Year 7 and Year 10 as part of the National Immunisation ProgramExternal Link (NIP).

Each council immunisation provider or their contracted immunisation provider must have policies and procedures to provide school-based immunisation services to schools in their local government area.

Role of secondary schools

The role of secondary schools is to:

  • communicate with students and parents/guardians, school staff, and the wider school community about adolescent immunisation
  • appoint a school immunisation coordinator to liaise with the council immunisation provider
  • share student and parent/guardian information to the council as permitted by the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019External Link
  • ensure appropriate resources and environments are available for the program to run safely and effectively on vaccination day.

Student information data sharing

Schools are required to support the delivery of the SSIP in their school by sharing student data.

Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019External Link a council may request the person in charge of a secondary school to disclose student and parent/guardian contact details for the purposes of delivering the Victorian Secondary School Immunisation Program.

Parents/guardians of Year 7 and Year 10 students should be provided with a collection statement (see Resources section below) and the purpose of why schools are required to provide this information to councils. Parents/guardians must be provided with information on who to contact should they request their contact details not to be shared.

Guidance is available for schools how to extract this student data to share with councils.

Valid consent for each vaccine must be provided by parents/guardians/medical decision maker for students to receive free adolescent vaccinations at school.

Parents/guardians can provide either via consent online or via hard copy consent form.

From 2024, online immunisation platforms such as the Central Immunisation Records Victoria (CIRV) may be used by councils to obtain consent for vaccination electronically SSIP. Councils will provide a dedicated link to schools to share with parents/guardians.

Parents/guardians/medical decision maker can withdraw consent at any time before vaccination takes place:

  • where consent has been given online, and follow the prompts to withdraw consent, or
  • where consent has been given on the hard copy consent form, notify the school or council to advise the student's name, year level and the vaccines the withdrawn consent applies to.

Translated information is available for parents/guardians/medical decision makers of Year 7 and Year 10 students via Health TranslationsExternal Link . The Translating and Interpreting ServiceExternal Link (TIS) is available for immunisation providers that need additional support. TIS can be contacted on phone 13 14 50.

Special risk cohorts

Students with disability

Vaccination can be a stressful experience for students, particularly for students who have disability. ResourcesExternal Link have been developed by Cancer Council Victoria in consultation with Murdoch Children’s research Institute and Scope Australia to guide parents/guardians to support their children.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have higher rates of some vaccine-preventable diseases compared to non-Indigenous persons. For this reason, extra vaccines are recommended and are available free through the National Immunisation Program.External Link

Students who missed vaccinations at school

Students who miss immunisation on the day of the school vaccination should be offered catch-up vaccination. Councils should advise parents/guardians about the options to access free catch-up vaccinesExternal Link which may include their local council, GP or community pharmacy.

Further information about catch-up vaccination is available for councils on the Department of Health website and for parents/guardians on the Better Health ChannelExternal Link .

Reviewed 09 February 2024

Health.vic

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