2.1.3.40 Immunisation - Approved Exemptions (FTB)

Summary

This topic explains the approved exemptions for an individual to meet the immunisation requirements for FTB Part A (2.1.3.10).

The evidence required to determine whether an individual has an exemption from immunisation is outlined later in this topic.

Note: Between 1 July 2012 and 31 December 2015, different approved exemptions were applied to FA payments (8.1).

A recognised immunisation provider (1.1.R.09) may include:

  • a general practitioner that is vocationally registered, or a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), or Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM),
  • a paediatrician,
  • a public health physician,
  • an infectious diseases physician, or
  • a clinical immunologist.

Approved exemptions from immunisation

A child has an approved exemption from FTB Part A immunisation requirements where:

  • the child has a medical contraindication,
  • the child has natural immunity,
  • the child is a part of an approved vaccine study,
  • the vaccine is temporarily unavailable,
  • the child is vaccinated overseas, or
  • the Secretary has determined that the child meets the immunisation requirements.

Medical contraindication

For a child to meet the immunisation requirements by medical contraindication, a recognised immunisation provider must certify in writing on the approved Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) Immunisation medical exemption form (IM011) that immunising the child would be medically contraindicated under the specifications set out in the current Australian Immunisation Handbook.

Example: A child who suffers from anaphylaxis following a previous dose of the relevant vaccine. If so, a recognised immunisation provider may certify that immunisation is medically contraindicated on the approved form.

Act reference: FAAct section 6(3) Medical contraindication, natural immunity and vaccine study

Natural immunity

For a child to meet the immunisation requirements by natural immunity, a recognised immunisation provider must certify in writing on the approved Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) Immunisation medical exemption form (IM011) that the child does not require immunisation because they have acquired natural immunity as a result of contracting a disease or diseases.

Generally, a natural immunity exemption will only be applied to a specific antigen (not the whole schedule). A natural immunity exemption should be applied for life (based on the clinical assessment of a recognised immunisation provider).

Example: A child who has previously contracted measles may have developed a natural immunity to contracting the disease again and therefore, does not need to be immunised against measles again.

Act reference: FAAct section 6(3) Medical contraindication, natural immunity and vaccine study

Approved vaccine study

A child meets the immunisation requirements if the child is a participant in a vaccine study approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee registered with the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Act reference: FAAct section 6(3) Medical contraindication, natural immunity and vaccine study

Temporary unavailability of vaccine

Where a child is not vaccinated as required and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer has declared that the relevant vaccine/s (or all vaccines) are temporarily unavailable the child is considered to meet the immunisation requirements, provided the child has received all other relevant vaccinations. A child meets the immunisation requirements on this basis only until such time as the vaccine becomes available.

Act reference: FAAct section 6(4) Temporary unavailability of vaccine

Children vaccinated overseas

A child who was vaccinated in another country meets the immunisation requirements if a recognised immunisation provider completes and signs an Australian Immunisation Register immunisation history form (IM013) for the vaccines administered overseas.

Act reference: FAAct section 6(5) Child vaccinated overseas

Secretary may determine a child meets immunisation requirements

The table below details circumstances where the Secretary can determine a child meets the immunisation requirements:

Exception/exemption Circumstances
Refusal of consent to vaccination
  • the child is in the care of an individual and neither the individual nor their partner has legal authority to make decisions about the medical treatment of the child, and
  • if the child is aged under 14 years, the person with legal authority to make decisions about the medical treatment of the child has refused or failed within a reasonable time, to provide consent to the individual taking actions to enable the child to meet the immunisation requirements, or
  • if the child is aged at least 14 years, the child has refused, or failed within a reasonable time, to provide consent to the individual taking actions to enable the child to meet the usual immunisation requirements.
    Note: For FTB purposes, the child must be in the care of another individual under a child welfare law.
Risk of family violence
  • taking action to meet the immunisation requirements would result in the individual or the child being at risk of family violence.
Permanent humanitarian visa holder
  • the individual is a new permanent humanitarian visa holder and has not had the opportunity to immunise their child.
    Note: An exemption under this category can only be applied for a maximum of 6 months after the child first enters Australia.
Unacceptable risk of harm to child or another person
  • immunisation of the child would result in an unacceptable risk of physical harm to the child or a person administering a vaccination to the child.

Act reference: FAAct section 6(6) Secretary's decision

Family Assistance (Immunisation Principles and Vaccination Schedules) (DSS) Determination 2018

Policy reference: FA Guide 2.1.3.10 FTB Immunisation Requirements

Evidence required to determine exception/exemption

The table below explains the required evidence to determine whether an individual has an exemption from immunisation.

Exception/exemption Evidence required

Medical contraindication

Natural immunity

  • Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) - Immunisation medical exemption form (IM011) completed and signed by a recognised immunisation provider.
Approved vaccine study
  • A signed letter, from the researchers which verifies that the child is a participant of a vaccine study, and
  • evidence that the study is approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee registered with the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Temporary unavailability of vaccine
  • The Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer must certify in writing that a vaccine, or all vaccines are temporarily unavailable.
Child vaccinated overseas
  • An Australian Immunisation Register immunisation history form (IM013) signed by a recognised immunisation provider, or
  • a signed letter, detailing the vaccines received, from a recognised immunisation provider.
Refusal of consent to vaccination
  • Proof of care arrangements:
    • FTB - evidence of the child welfare law (e.g. state or territory child protection order), and
  • if the child is aged under 14 years:
    • evidence that the individual with legal authority to vaccinate the child does not give authority for the child to be vaccinated, or evidence that authority has not been provided within a reasonable timeframe (e.g. statutory declaration from carer and letter from authority that the person with legal authority has not provided consent), or
  • if the child is aged 14 years or over:
    • evidence that the child does not consent or has not given consent in a reasonable timeframe to being immunised (e.g. statutory declaration from carer or a letter from a recognised immunisation provider that the child has refused).
Risk of family violence
  • Individuals must be referred to a Centrelink social worker and each case will be assessed on a case by case basis. Applicable documentation is to be determined by the Centrelink social worker.
Permanent humanitarian visa holder
  • The individual's new permanent humanitarian visa, and
  • evidence the child has been in Australia for less than 6 months.
    Note: The individual may also have evidence that they intend to have their child immunised or put on a catch up schedule according to the current Australian Immunisation Handbook (e.g. evidence of an appointment with a recognised immunisation provider).
Unacceptable risk of harm to child or a person administering the vaccination
  • A listed medical practitioner has certified in writing, on an approved form, that immunisation of the child would result in an unacceptable risk of physical harm to the child or a person administering a vaccination to the child, and
  • the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer has certified in writing that he or she agrees with the listed medical practitioner.
    Note: A recipient can seek referral to a listed medical practitioner through a general practitioner or a state or territory health department.

Act reference: FAAct section 6 Immunisation requirements

Family Assistance (Immunisation Principles and Vaccination Schedules) (DSS) Determination 2018

Policy reference: FA Guide 1.1.I.10 Immunisation requirements (FTB, CCS), 1.2.1 Family Tax Benefit (FTB) - Description

Last reviewed: 2 July 2018