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.

Table 1 shows the introduction of new vaccines and major changes to the immunisation program in Australia since 1804. Recent years include information specific to Victoria.

Table 1: Vaccine history in Australia, 1804 to current time

Year (month)

Vaccine details

1804

Smallpox vaccine sourced from England

1917

Smallpox vaccine produced in Australia

1917

Tetanus antitoxin introduced for the armed forces

1924

Diphtheria toxin–antitoxin introduced

1925

Tetanus toxoid vaccine introduced

1925

Pertussis toxoid vaccine used in case contacts and epidemics

1927

Diphtheria toxoid vaccine introduced

1932

Community immunisation for the public began

1945
June

Tetanus toxoid vaccine available for civilians after World War II

1953

Diphtheria–tetanus–pertussis (DTP) vaccine introduced (triple antigen)

1956
May

Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV, Salk) introduced

1966
September

Oral polio vaccine (OPV, Sabin) introduced

1969

Measles vaccine introduced

1971
February

Rubella vaccine introduced

1980

Smallpox vaccination ceased

1981
July

Mumps vaccine introduced

1982

Pneumovax 14® vaccine introduced for pneumococcal disease

1983
February

Measles–mumps vaccine introduced

1983
March

Hepatitis B vaccine (plasma-containing product) introduced

1984–85

End of Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine school program for tuberculosis

1986

Combined diphtheria–tetanus vaccine superseded by DTP vaccine as the 4th booster dose, introducing the first pertussis-containing vaccine booster at 18 months of age

1987

Infants 'at risk' commenced birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine

1987

Pneumovax 23® vaccine introduced for pneumococcal disease

1987
November

Hepatitis B Vax II (recombinant) vaccine introduced

1989
June

Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine introduced

1992
May

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine introduced (catch-up vaccine for children aged 18 months to under 5 years)

1993
July

Hib vaccine introduced for children aged 2 months to 18 months

1993
July

Hepatitis A (Havrix®) vaccine introduced

1994

MMR vaccine introduced for males and females in Year 6 of primary school

1995

Combined diphtheria–tetanus vaccine superseded by DTP vaccine as the 5th booster dose, introducing the 2nd pertussis-containing vaccine booster at 18 months of age

1997

Influenza vaccination program began for over 65 year olds

1997
October

Infanrix® (DTP vaccine) replaces 4th and 5th dose of triple antigen vaccine

HibTITER Multidose vial ceased (contained thiomersal)

1998

Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine (Pneumovax 23®) introduced for people aged 65 years and over

1998

MMR primary school program introduced

1998

Booster program introduced at 4 years of age for DTP, MMR and OPV vaccines before starting school

1998

Hepatitis B paediatric vaccine (3 doses) introduced in a Year 7 secondary school program

1999

MMR vaccine campaign for 18–30 year olds

1999

Infanrix® (DTP) vaccine introduced – from 2 months of age to 4 years of age inclusive

2000
May

Hepatitis B birth dose introduced

2000

Comvax® (Hib–hepatitis B) vaccine introduced

2000

OPV ceased in year 9–10 school program

2000

Hepatitis B boosters ceased

2000

10-yearly ADT boosters (diphtheria–tetanus) ceased

2001

Hepatitis B adult vaccine (2 doses) introduced in Year 7 school program

2001

Hepatitis B vaccine introduced for people who inject drugs

2001

Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine introduced (unfunded)

2001

Childhood pneumococcal vaccine (7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) introduced for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children only

2001
December

Meningitec® meningococcal C conjugate vaccine introduced (unfunded)

2001

Hib TITER® vaccine ceased (only Pedvax® available)

2002
August

NeisVac C® meningococcal C conjugate vaccine introduced (unfunded)

2002
October

Menjugate® meningococcal C conjugate vaccine introduced (unfunded)

2003
January

Meningococcal C conjugate vaccine introduced at 12 months of age

2003
January

1–19 years meningococcal C conjugate vaccination program (until 2006)

2003
September

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

2004
January

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

2004
September

4, 5 and 6-antigen combination vaccines introduced

2005
January

Pneumococcal vaccine (Prevenar®) scheduled at 2, 4 and 6 months of age, catch-up in 2005 for children born between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2004

2005
January

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

2005
November

IPV in combination with diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis scheduled at 2, 4 and 6 months and 4 years of age

2005
November

OPV (Sabin) ceased at 2, 4 and 6 months and 4 years of age

2005
November

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

2007

Hepatitis B vaccine introduced for household contacts of a person living with hepatitis B

2007

Hepatitis B vaccine introduced for prisoners

2007
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

2007
July

HPV vaccine introduced for young women aged between 18 and 26 for a 2-year period to the end of June 2009

2007
July

Rotavirus (RotaTeq®) vaccine scheduled at 2, 4 and 6 months of age

2008
March

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

2008
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

2008
September

Pedvax® Hib vaccine ceased

2009
June

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

2009
September

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

2009
December

Panvax® H1N1 approved for children aged 6 months to under 10 years of age

2009
December

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Gardasil®) catch-up program for females between 13 and 26 years of age ends 31 December 2009

2010

Hepatitis B vaccine introduced for people living with HIV

2010
January

HPV vaccine (Gardasil®) introduced in a Year 7 secondary school program (or age equivalent) for girls

2010
January

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

2010
December

Panvax® H1N1 vaccine program ends on 31 December 2010

2011
April

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

2011
July

Prevenar® vaccine (pneumococcal disease) ceased for use at 2, 4 and 6 months of age

2011
July

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

2011
October

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

2011
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.

2012
February

Hepatitis B vaccine introduced for people living with hepatitis C

2012
30 June

dTpa (Boostrix®) free vaccine for parents with an infant born from 15 June 2009 ceased

2012
30 September

Supplementary catch-up dose of Prevenar 13® for all children aged 12–35 months ceased

2013
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

2013
July

Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (MMRV) vaccine introduced (Priorix-Tetra®). MMRV replaced the monovalent varicella vaccine (Varilrix®) at 18 months of age

2013
July

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

2013
July

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

2013
July

Alternative varicella (chickenpox) vaccine introduced (Varivax®). Either Varilrix® or Varivax® brand can be used for adolescents according to the schedule

2013
31 December

Secondary school Year 7 and age equivalent hepatitis B vaccine catch-up program ceased

2014
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

2015
January

HPV vaccine (Gardasil®) for secondary school Year 9 boys (aged 14–15 years) 2-year time-limited program ceased

2015
January

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

2015
January

Seasonal influenza vaccine funded for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged between 6 months and 59 months

2015
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

2015
July

Alternative brand of MMRV vaccine introduced (ProQuad®). Either ProQuad® or Priorix-Tetra® can be used at 18 months of age

2015
July

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

2015
December

MMR vaccine at four years of age ceased. DTP-IPV only at 4 years.

2015
December

Boostrix® vaccine  Year 10 secondary school program ceased.

Completion of Boostrix® transition program in Years 7, 8 and 9 of secondary school in 2015.

2016
January

Boostrix® vaccine Year 7 secondary school program commenced.

2016
January
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.
2016
January
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
2016
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.
2016
April
Quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccine introduced for the National Immunisation Program schedule, replacing trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine.
2016
November
Herpes Zoster vaccine introduced at 70 years of age. Vaccine brand Zostavax®.
5 year catch-up program for 71 to 79 year olds.
2017
January
Hepatitis B vaccine introduced, on the State funded vaccine program, for all non immune Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 
2017
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.

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.
2017
July

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.

2017
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).

2017 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.
2017 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.
2017 December  Varicella vaccine program for Year 7 secondary school students (or age equivalent in the community) ceased 31 December.
2018
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.
2018
January
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. 
2018
January
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. 
2018
January
Gardasil®9 (human papillomavirus 9 valent vaccine) for adolescents in Year 7 of secondary school or age equivalent 12 to 13 years. 

2018
April

Influenza vaccine funded by the Victorian government for all infants and children aged from 6 months to less than five years. 

2018
April

Fluad® and Fluzone® - Higher-immunogenicity trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine for people aged 65 years and over.
2018 
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.
2018 
July

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.

2018 
July
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.
2018 
July

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).

2018 October MMR 11® 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. 

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