Key points

  • By 12 months of age, 86% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were ‘fully vaccinated’.* This proportion has remained stable in recent years and is 6% lower than that of other children.
  • By 2 years of age, 91% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were ‘fully vaccinated’,* the same as for other children.
  • At 5 years of age, 85% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were ‘fully vaccinated’,* 4 percentage points lower than in other children.
  • Coverage of vaccines specifically recommended for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remains suboptimal.
  • A greater proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are vaccinated after the recommended schedule point than other children; however, this has improved in recent years.
  • The age cut-offs for rotavirus vaccine are resulting in lower coverage for this vaccine, and a greater disparity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children.
  • The absence of any coverage data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents, and any coverage data for adults since 2004/2005, is a serious obstacle to program monitoring.

* ‘Fully vaccinated’ definition from 1996 to June 2013: at 12 months of age – defined as receipt of 3 doses of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hib, hepatitis B and polio, but did not include rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines, which are also due at the same schedule points; at 24 months of age – included 3 or 4 doses of Hib and hepatitis B, and 1 dose of measles, mumps, rubella, but did not include meningococcal C or varicella vaccines; at 5 years (60 months) – included a fourth dose of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and a second dose of measles, mumps and rubella.