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Additional practitioners can now submit medical exemptions for vaccination

Additional practitioners who can submit medical exemptions for vaccination

On 16 August 2017 changes were made to the Australian Immunisation Register and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017. This means additional practitioners will now be able to notify medical exemptions to immunisation to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Practitioners able to notify a medical exemption to vaccination to the AIR include:

  • General Practitioners (as defined in the Health Insurance Act 1973)
  • Paediatricians
  • Public health physicians
  • Infectious diseases physicians and
  • Clinical immunologists

Practitioners play a key role in supporting patients to fulfil their vaccination requirements. In the event an individual cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, eligible practitioners are now able to notify the AIR that the individual has a medical exemption to vaccination.

Notification to AIR

  • Medical exemptions can be notified using the AIR site (

Medical Exemptions

  • The medical basis for vaccination exemption is based on guidance in the Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th edition.
  • Medical exemptions to vaccination can only be issued due to a medical contraindication or natural immunity.
  • Medical contraindications to vaccinations are rare and limited to:


    • previous anaphylaxis to vaccine/vaccine component; or
    • significant immunocompromise (live attenuated vaccines only) OR


    • acute major medical illness; or
    • significant immunocompromise of short duration (live attenuated vaccines only); or
    • the individual is pregnant (live attenuated vaccines only).
  • Natural immunity to hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella must be confirmed via laboratory testing or physician based clinical diagnosis. Exemption to a combination vaccine on the bases of natural immunity is only valid if immunity is confirmed for all vaccine antigens.

Conscientious objection (vaccination objection on non-medical grounds) is no longer a valid exemption from the immunisation requirements for certain family payments.

For more information about the AIR, please go to or call 1800 653 809 (call charges may apply).

Download the Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Letter to Medical Practitioners.