Department of Health

Vaccination for special-risk groups

Some people are at higher risk of vaccine-preventable diseases due to certain conditions, underlying disease, or other risk factors. Vaccines are funded under the National Immunisation Program and the Victorian Immunisation schedule for these special-risk groups.

Key messages

  • The National Immunisation Program (NIP)External Link provides free essential vaccines to protect eligible people against a range of diseases.
  • Refugees and humanitarian entrants of any age are eligible for free NIP catch-up vaccines.
  • Additional vaccines are recommended for people with medical risk factors and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • In Victoria some special-risk groups are eligible to receive some vaccines for free.
  • Resources are available to support the development of catch-up vaccination plan for eligible people.

Vulnerable citizens

Some people who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage may not have equitable access to vaccines during their period of eligibility. Vulnerable citizens are vaccinated based on an individual assessment by an immunisation provider.

Children and adolescents in out-of-home care

Children and adolescents living in out-of-home care are often behind with their immunisations.

  • Carers can give a general practitioner (GP) permission to give vaccines to a child in their care, if they have a child-specific instrument of authorisation or standard authorisation issued by the child’s Community Service Organisation or Child Protection.
  • Mature minor consentExternal Link may be used if the Immunisation Provider deems an adolescent can provide their own valid consent for vaccination.
  • To enrol in childcare, a child must have an immunisation history statement showing which immunisations they have received.
  • Centrelink family paymentsExternal Link may stop if a child is not up to date with vaccinations.
  • Talk about immunisation at the child’s health check with a GP.

Immunisation for children in out-of-home care - specific fact sheets for Immunisation Providers, Carers and Child Protection Practitioners and Case Managers.

National Immunisation Program ScheduleExternal Link

Use the Catch-up vaccination resources to plan a catch-up schedule.

People with medical risk conditions

Additional vaccines are recommended for people with certain medical conditions.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Specified additional vaccines are recommended at certain ages.

Refugees and asylum seekers

Specified vaccines are funded for all ages, regardless of whether the person holds a Medicare card.

Catch-up vaccination

Resources are available to support immunisation providers to develop catch-up vaccination plans for eligible people in these special risk groups.

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


Contact details

Opening hours:  9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Immunisation Unit Department of Health

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