Some families experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage may face difficulties accessing immunisation services and documentation.

The law recognises that these families need additional time and help. It provides a grace period that allows the child to enrol and attend the service.

The 16-week grace period starts on the first day of the child’s attendance at the service.

Reasonable steps

During the grace period, the service is required to take reasonable steps to obtain the child's Immunisation History Statement.

Taking reasonable steps may include:

  • providing information to parents/carers about where they can access immunisation services or how to obtain an Immunisation History Statement
  • referring parents/ carers to appropriate support services (for example, services included on the contacts page
  • providing appropriate resources to parents/carers.

Who is eligible for the grace period

Children who fall within any of the following categories are eligible for the grace period.

Children experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage

  • Children who hold, or whose parents, hold a health care card, or whose parents hold a pension concession card, Veterans Affairs Gold or White card
  • Children from a multiple birth of triplets or more
  • Children who are refugees or asylum seekers
  • Children displaced by family violence or homelessness

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Children

  • Children identified by their parents as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Children known to child protection

  • Children who are on or have been on a protection order
  • Children in or who have been in foster care or out-of-home care
  • Children or families that have received support from child protection
  • Children who have had a report made about them under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005
  • Families that have received support through Family Services including Child FIRST; services connect; a community-based child and family service; or an integrated family service.

Children in the care of an adult who is not their parent

  • Children in the care of an adult who is not the child’s parent due to exceptional circumstances such as illness or incapacity

Children in emergency care

  • Children in emergency care (for example, emergency foster care) under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005

Evacuated children

  • Children evacuated following an emergency (such as flood or fire)

More information

The Expiry of grace period page provides information on what to do when the grace period expires.

Download the grace grace-period-eligibility-assessment-form for to help you identify families who may be experiencing disadvantage and vulnerability. 

The Contacts page provides contact information for support services for families experiencing disadvantage and vulnerability.

Contact details