Department of Health

Key messages

  • An historical snapshot of the introduction and major changes of vaccines into Australia.
  • Smallpox was the first vaccine introduced into Australia in 1804.
  • Community vaccination began in Australia in 1932.

Timeline of the introduction of new vaccines and major changes to the immunisation program in Australia since 1804. Recent years include information specific to Victoria.

Vaccine history in Australia, 1804 to current time

  • Smallpox vaccine sourced from England

    • Smallpox vaccine produced in Australia
    • Tetanus antitoxin introduced for the armed forces
    • Diphtheria toxin–antitoxin introduced
    • Tetanus toxoid vaccine introduced
    • Pertussis toxoid vaccine used in case contacts and epidemics
    • Diphtheria toxoid vaccine introduced
    • Community immunisation for the public began
    • June - Tetanus toxoid vaccine available for civilians after World War II
    • Diphtheria–tetanus–pertussis (DTP) vaccine introduced (triple antigen)
    • May - Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV, Salk) introduced
    • September - Oral polio vaccine (OPV, Sabin) introduced
    • Measles vaccine introduced
    • February - Rubella vaccine introduced
    • Smallpox vaccination ceased
    • July - Mumps vaccine introduced
    • Pneumovax 14® vaccine introduced for pneumococcal disease
    • February - Measles–mumps vaccine introduced
    • March - Hepatitis B vaccine (plasma-containing product) introduced
    • End of Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine school program for tuberculosis
    • Combined diphtheria–tetanus vaccine superseded by DTP vaccine as the 4th booster dose, introducing the first pertussis-containing vaccine booster at 18 months of age
    • Infants 'at risk' commenced birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine
    • Pneumovax 23® vaccine introduced for pneumococcal disease
    • November - Hepatitis B Vax II (recombinant) vaccine introduced
    • June - Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine introduced
    • May - Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine introduced (catch-up vaccine for children aged 18 months to under 5 years)
    • July - Hib vaccine introduced for children aged 2 months to 18 months
    • July - Hepatitis A (Havrix®) vaccine introduced
    • MMR vaccine introduced for males and females in Year 6 of primary school
    • Combined diphtheria–tetanus vaccine superseded by DTP vaccine as the 5th booster dose, introducing the 2nd pertussis-containing vaccine booster at 18 months of age
    • Influenza vaccination program began for over 65 year olds
    • October - Infanrix® (DTP vaccine) replaces 4th and 5th dose of triple antigen vaccine
    • HibTITER Multidose vial ceased (contained thiomersal)
    • Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine (Pneumovax 23®) introduced for people aged 65 years and over
    • MMR primary school program introduced
    • Booster program introduced at 4 years of age for DTP, MMR and OPV vaccines before starting school
    • Hepatitis B paediatric vaccine (3 doses) introduced in a Year 7 secondary school program

     

     

    • MMR vaccine campaign for 18–30 year olds
    • Infanrix® (DTP) vaccine introduced – from 2 months of age to 4 years of age inclusive
    • May - Hepatitis B birth dose introduced
    • Comvax® (Hib–hepatitis B) vaccine introduced
    • OPV ceased in year 9–10 school program
    • Hepatitis B boosters ceased
    • 10-yearly ADT boosters (diphtheria–tetanus) ceased
    • Hepatitis B adult vaccine (2 doses) introduced in Year 7 school program
    • Hepatitis B vaccine introduced for people who inject drugs
    • Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine introduced (unfunded)
    • Childhood pneumococcal vaccine (7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) introduced for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children only
    • December - Meningitec® meningococcal C conjugate vaccine introduced (unfunded)
    • Hib TITER® vaccine ceased (only Pedvax® available)
    • August - NeisVac C® meningococcal C conjugate vaccine introduced (unfunded)
    • October - Menjugate® meningococcal C conjugate vaccine introduced (unfunded)
  • January

    • Meningococcal C conjugate vaccine introduced at 12 months of age
    • 1–19 years meningococcal C conjugate vaccination program (until 2006)

    September

    • 18-month dose of DTPa ceased. Expanded medical risk group for childhood pneumococcal vaccine under 5 years of age
  • January

    • dTpa (Boostrix®) for 15–17 year olds (Year 10 school program) in place of ADT

    September

    • 4, 5 and 6-antigen combination vaccines introduced
  • January

    • Pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax 23®) funded by Australian Government for adults over 65 years of age

    November

    • IPV in combination with diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis scheduled at 2, 4 and 6 months and 4 years of age
    • OPV (Sabin) ceased at 2, 4 and 6 months and 4 years of age
    • Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine scheduled at 18 months of age and for children in Year 7 of secondary school who had not had chickenpox vaccine or the disease
    • Hepatitis B vaccine introduced for household contacts of a person living with hepatitis B
    • Hepatitis B vaccine introduced for prisoners

    April

    • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for girls aged between 12 and 13 in Year 7 of secondary school, with a 2-year catch-up period to the end of June 2009 for girls aged 14–18 years

    July

    • HPV vaccine introduced for young women aged between 18 and 26 for a 2-year period to the end of June 2009
    • Rotavirus (RotaTeq®) vaccine scheduled at 2, 4 and 6 months of age
  • March

    • Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, hepatitis B, poliomyelitis and Hib (Infanrix hexa®) combination vaccine introduced at 2, 4 and 6 months of age

    September

    • Hiberix® vaccine (Hib) given at 12 months of age for infants who, at minimum, received Infanrix hexa® vaccine at 6 months of age and were up to date with all vaccines
    • Pedvax® Hib vaccine ceased
  • June

    • dTpa (Boostrix®) vaccine funded for parents with an infant born from 15 June 2009. Program ended 30 June 2012

    September

    • Pandemic influenza Panvax® H1N1 vaccine for people aged 10 years and over

    December

    • Panvax® H1N1 approved for children aged 6 months to under 10 years of age
    • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Gardasil®) catch-up program for females between 13 and 26 years of age ends 31 December 2009
    • Hepatitis B vaccine introduced for people living with HIV

    January

    • HPV vaccine (Gardasil®) introduced in a Year 7 secondary school program (or age equivalent) for girls
    • Expanded eligibility for free seasonal influenza vaccine to include pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 15 years of age and over, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and all people from 6 months of age with conditions predisposing to severe influenza

    December

    • Panvax® H1N1 vaccine program ends on 31 December 2010
  • April

    • Pneumovax 23® second dose was ceased due to an increase in local injection site reactions

    July

    • Prevenar® vaccine (pneumococcal disease) ceased for use at 2, 4 and 6 months of age
    • Prevenar 13® (pneumococcal disease) introduced for the primary schedule at 2, 4 and 6 months of age

    October

    • Supplementary catch-up dose of Prevenar 13® for all children aged 12–35 months. Program ended 30 September 2012

    December

    • Pneumovax 23® revaccination should not be given routinely to immunocompetent persons.

    It should be considered for persons at a high risk of serious pneumococcal disease provided that at least five years has passed since the previous Pneumovax 23.

  • February

    • Hepatitis B vaccine introduced for people living with hepatitis C
    • 30 June - dTpa (Boostrix®) free vaccine for parents with an infant born from 15 June 2009 ceased
    • 30 September - Supplementary catch-up dose of Prevenar 13® for all children aged 12–35 months ceased
  • January

    • HPV vaccine (Gardasil®) introduced for secondary school boys in Year 7 as an ongoing program, and a 2-year time-limited program for boys in Year 9 in 2013 and 2014

    July

    • Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (MMRV) vaccine introduced (Priorix-Tetra®). MMRV replaced the monovalent varicella vaccine (Varilrix®) at 18 months of age
    • Hib and meningococcal C (Hib–MenC) vaccine introduced (Menitorix®). Hib–MenC vaccine replaces the Hibvaccine Hiberix® and the meningococcal C vaccine NeisVac C® given at 12 months of age
    • Alternative MMR vaccine, M-M-R-II®, introduced. Either Priorix® or M-M-R II® brand can be used for 12-month-old or 4-year-old children
    • Alternative varicella (chickenpox) vaccine introduced (Varivax®). Either Varilrix® or Varivax® brand can be used for adolescents according to the schedule
    • 31 December - Secondary school Year 7 and age equivalent hepatitis B vaccine catch-up program ceased
  • January

    Hepatitis B vaccine program expanded for additional at-risk groups; eligibility now includes:

    • household contacts and sexual partners of people living with hepatitis B
    • people who inject drugs or are on opioid substitution therapy
    • people living with Hepatitis C
    • men who have sex with men
    • people living with HIV
    • prisoners and remandees
  • January

    • HPV vaccine (Gardasil®) for secondary school Year 9 boys (aged 14–15 years) 2-year time-limited program ceased
    • Boostrix® (dTpa) vaccine transitions from Year 10 to Year 7 of secondary school. Adolescents in years 7–10 or aged 12–16 years are offered the Boostrix® vaccine
    • Seasonal influenza vaccine funded for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged between 6 months and 59 months

    1 June

    Boostrix® (dTpa) vaccine program commences for:

    • pregnant women from 28 weeks gestation during every pregnancy
    • partners of women who are at least 28 weeks pregnant if the partner has not received a pertussis booster in the past 10 years
    • parents/guardians of babies born on or after 1 June 2015, if their baby is under 6 months of age and they have not received a pertussis booster in the past 10 years

    July

    • Alternative brand of MMRV vaccine introduced (ProQuad®). Either ProQuad® or Priorix-Tetra® can be used at 18 months of age
    • Temporary introduction of an alternative brand of tetanus–diphtheria vaccine (Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoid®). Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoid® vaccine can be used as an alternative to ADT® Booster vaccine

    December

    • MMR vaccine at four years of age ceased. DTP-IPV only at 4 years.
    • Boostrix® vaccine  Year 10 secondary school program ceased.
    • Completion of Boostrix® transition program in Years 7, 8 and 9 of secondary school in 2015.
  • January

    • Boostrix® vaccine Year 7 secondary school program commenced.
    • The Commonwealth No Jab No Pay legislation commenced.


    For a parent/guardian to receive Family Assistance Payments their child, under 20 years of age, must be up to date with childhood vaccines on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) or on a recognised vaccine catch-up schedule or have a medical exemption.

    Children aged from 10 years to less than 20 years can access free catch-up vaccines until 31 December 2017. All children less than 10 years can access NIP vaccines on-going.

    The Victorian No Jab No Play legislation commenced.

    This requires all children to be fully vaccinated or have commenced a recognised vaccine catch-up schedule or have a medical exemption for some vaccines, in order to confirm enrolment in childcare or kindergarten in Victoria

    March

    • Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (whooping cough) booster introduced at 18 months of age.
    • Two DTPa vaccine brands provided: Infanrix® and Tripacel® vaccines.
    • DTPa booster vaccine is now given at the NIP schedule point in addition to MMRV vaccine

    April

    • Quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccine introduced for the National Immunisation Program schedule, replacing trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine.

    September 

    • The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) commenced, expanding upon the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) by capturing vaccines administered throughout a person's life.

    November

    • Herpes Zoster vaccine introduced at 70 years of age. Vaccine brand Zostavax®.
    • 5 year catch-up program for 71 to 79 year olds.
  • January

    Hepatitis B vaccine introduced, on the State funded vaccine program, for all non immune Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

    June

     

    • Meningococcal A,C,W,Y secondary school vaccine program for adolescents in Years 10, 11 and 12 or aged 15 to 19 years. Menactra® vaccine stock supplied.
    • Victorian government funded and time-limited, ceases 31 December 2017.

    July

    • Rotavirus vaccine brand Rotarix® introduced replacing RotaTeq®, the 3 dose course. Rotarix® is a 2 dose course scheduled at 2 and 4 months of age.
    • Engerix®-B Paediatric (hepatitis B) alternative vaccine stock supplied for infants at birth.
    • Quadracel®, alternative brand of childhood diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-poliomyelitis vaccine stock supplied at 4 years of age.

    August

    Tetanus-diphtheria vaccine supply ceased for 50-59 year olds.

    The current Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends a diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (whooping cough) containing vaccine for any adult wishing to reduce their likelihood of pertussis infection, if 10 years has elapsed since a previous dose or for adults at 50 years of age (a prescription is required)

    December 31

    Menactra® (Meningococcal A,C,W,Y vaccine) secondary school vaccine program for adolescents in Years  11 and 12 or aged up to 19 years ceased 31 December.

    December

    •  Menactra® (quadrivalent meningococcal A,C,W,Y) vaccine program. Victorian funded and time-limited for gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men (GBM/MSM) who reside in Victoria. The program launched 11 December and ends 31 December 2018.
    •  Varicella vaccine program for Year 7 secondary school students (or age equivalent in the community) ceased 31 December.
  • January

    • Menactra® (quadrivalent meningococcal A,C,W,Y) vaccine program ongoing for Year 10 secondary school students (or age equivalent in the community) ends 31 December 2018.
    • Havrix 1440® (hepatitis A vaccine) two dose course funded by the Victorian government for all men who have sex with men who live in Victoria, and all men and women who have injected drugs in the past 12 months and live in Victoria. The program started 22 January and ends 31 December 2018. 
    • Gardasil® (human papillomavirus vaccine) for all men who have sex with men aged up to 26 years launched 12 January and ends 31 December 2018. 
    • Gardasil®9 (human papillomavirus 9 valent vaccine) for adolescents in Year 7 of secondary school or age equivalent 12 to 13 years.

    April

    • Influenza vaccine funded by the Victorian government for all infants and children aged from 6 months to less than five years. 
    • Fluad® and Fluzone® - Higher-immunogenicity trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine for people aged 65 years and over.

    July

    • Nimenrix® (Meningococcal ACWY vaccine) replaces Menitorix® (Haemophilus influenzae type b and meningococcal C vaccine) on the National Immunisation Program schedule at 12 months of age.
    • Prevenar 13® (pneumococcal vaccine) change in timing of routine infant doses to  2, 4 and 12 months instead of 2, 4 and 6 months.

    Children at a higher risk will continue to receive this vaccine at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months as recommended prior to this NIP schedule change.

    • ActHIB®(Haemophilus influenzae type b monovalent vaccine) to be administered as the  4th dose of a Hib containing vaccine on the National Immunisation Program schedule at 18 months of age.
    • Introduction of a pertussis containing vaccine on the National Immunisation Program schedule for pregnant women from 28 weeks gestation, with every pregnancy, using either Boostrix® or Adacel® vaccine brand

      Cessation of the State funded pertussis vaccine program for pregnant women but continuation of the partner program (as previously listed June 2015).

    October

    • M-M-R-II® vaccine - introduction of a Victorian Government funded measles-containing vaccine program. One or two doses of  vaccine available for all adults born during or since 1966 and aged from 20 years without evidence of two documented  doses of valid MMR vaccine or without serological evidence of immunity. 

    December

    • Menactra® (quadrivalent meningococcal ACWY) - Victorian Government funded vaccine program for Year 10 secondary school students (or age equivalent in the community). Ceased 31 December 2018.
    • Menactra® (quadrivalent meningococcal ACWY) - Victorian Government funded vaccine program for gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men (GBM/MSM) who reside in Victoria. Ceased 31 December 2018.
    • Havrix 1440® (hepatitis A vaccine) - Victorian Government funded two dose course for all men who have sex with men, homeless people sleeping rough, adult prisoners and people who have injected drugs in the past 12 months. Extended to 30 June 2019.
    • Gardasil® (human papillomavirus vaccine) for all men who have sex with men aged up to 26 years. Extended to 31 October 2019.

     

  • January

    • ActHIB® (Haemophilus influenzae type b monovalent vaccine) - commenced as the 4th dose of Hib vaccine on the National Immunisation Program schedule at 18 months of age.

    April

    • Nimenrix® (quadrivalent meningococcal ACWY vaccine) introduced on the National Immunisation Program as a secondary school based program for Year 10 students and eligible persons aged 15-19 years who have not already received the vaccine.

    Seasonal influenza vaccine 2019 changes

    • Fluarix Tetra® - (QIV) Registered from 6 months of age – 0.5ml dose
    • Afluria Quad® - (QIV) Registered from 5 years of age (QIV = quadrivalent vaccine)

    Influenza vaccine eligibility changes

    • All children from 6 months to under 5 years of age (Victorian Government funded program)
    • All Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, including those aged from 5 years to 14 years of age (National Immunisation Program funded).

    Boostrix® or Adacel® (dTpa vaccine)-pertussis containing vaccine for pregnant women from 20-32 weeks gestation for every pregnancy (reduced from 28 weeks).

    MMR vaccine in special circumstances has been lowered from 9 months to 6 months of age. Infants as young as 6 months of age can receive MMR vaccine for travel to highly endemic areas, during outbreaks and as post-exposure prophylaxis.

    June

    • Havrix 1440® (hepatitis A vaccine) - Victorian Government funded two dose course for all men who have sex with men, homeless people sleeping rough, adult prisoners and people who have injected drugs in the past 12 months. Ceased 30 June 2019.

    August

    MMR vaccine - Infants from 6 months of age can receive a Victorian government funded free dose of MMR vaccine for overseas travel.

    October

    • Gardasil® (human papillomavirus vaccine) for all men who have sex with men aged up to 26 years. Ceased 31 October 2019
  • April

    Seasonal influenza vaccine 2020 NIP changes

    • FluQuadri® - Quadrivalent 0.5ml dose – from 6 months of age 
    • Vaxigrip Tetra® - Quadrivalent 0.5ml dose – from 6 months of age 
    • Fluad Quad® - Quadrivalent 0.5ml dose – from 65 years of age

    People from 6 months to under 5 years of age funded by the Australian Government

    July

    • Ceasing Pneumovax 23 for healthy non-Indigenous adults at 65 years of age
    • Commencing Prevenar 13 for healthy non-Indigenous adults ≥70 years of age
    • Commencing Prevenar 13 for Indigenous adults at ≥50 years of age plus Pneumovax 23 x 2 doses in a lifetime
    • Commencing Prevenar 13 for >12 months of age (including adolescents and adults) with newly diagnosed risk conditions plus Pneumovax 23 x 2 doses in a lifetime
    • New National Immunisation Program eligibility criteria for risk conditions.

    Bexsero® (Meningococcal B vaccine)

    • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants aged 2 months (from 6 weeks), 4 months and 12 months
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children less than 2 years of age - Catch up vaccine program until June 2023

    Prevenar 13®, Pneumovax 23®, Nimenrix®, Bexsero®, ActHIB® on the National Immunisation Program for people of all ages with:

    • functional or anatomical asplenia, including sickle cell disease or other haemoglobinopathies, and congenital or acquired asplenia.
  • February

    Comirnaty® (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine

    • recommended for all eligible people ≥12 years to protect against COVID-19 disease.

    March

     Vaxzevria® (AstraZeneca) COVID-19 vaccine

    • recommended for all eligible people ≥18 years to protect against COVID-19 disease.

    September

    Spikevax® (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccine

    • recommended for all eligible people aged ≥12 years to protect against COVID-19 disease.

    October

    Zostavax® (Herpes Zoster) catch-up vaccine program for people aged 71 to 79 years extended until 31 October 2023.

  • January

    Comirnaty® (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine 5--11 year old formulation

    • recommended for all eligible people 5-11 years to protect against COVID-19 disease.

    February

    Nuvaxovid® (Novavax) COVID-19 vaccine

    • recommended for all eligible people ≥18 years to protect against COVID-19 disease.

    March

    Imojev®- live attenuated Japanese encephalitis vaccine

    • for people aged 9 months of age and over in response to the Japanese encephalitis outbreak in Victoria

    JEspect® inactivated Japanese encephalitis vaccine

    • for people aged 2 months of age and over in response to the Japanese encephalitis outbreak in Victoria.

Reviewed 31 March 2022

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Immunisation Unit Department of Health

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