Free Chicken Pox Vaccination
Children born on or after 1 May 2004 can now receive chickenpox vaccine free when they turn 18 months old.
The National Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccination Program also has a long-term catch-up component for one group of children aged between 10 to 13 years who have not received the vaccine or who have not had the disease.
Children will also be able to receive injectable inactivated polio vaccine instead of oral polio vaccine. Prior to this initiative, parents had to pay up to $55 per dose for the varicella vaccine while the oral polio vaccine was available for free under the National Immunisation Program.
Each year seven Australians die from chickenpox and around 240,000 people are affected, resulting in 1,500 hospitalisations.
As with other vaccines funded by the government under the National Immunisation Program, eligible people need to visit their doctor or immunisation provider and ask for the vaccine. Medical practitioners will continue to charge their standard consultation fee.