Immunisation for secondary school students

Why do secondary school students need immunisation?

The protection provided by some childhood vaccines fades and needs to be boosted in adolescence.

Adolescents are at an age when they have a higher potential to be exposed to certain diseases. Vaccination against these diseases is an effective way of providing protection.

These vaccines are administered at school following consent.

Vaccines which are offered

The following vaccines are offered free to all children in secondary school regardless of their citizenship status:


Year 7:

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine

Year 7 students are scheduled to receive two doses of HPV vaccine. This vaccine differs from the previous years HPV vaccine as it will offer protection from nine different strains of HPV in two doses (up from four strains in three doses).

Students are given two injections with six months between doses. Find out more about Human Papillomavirus vaccine

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine


This vaccine boosts protection against these three diseases in a single injection. Your child will have been vaccinated against these diseases in early childhood but an adolescent dose is recommended to boost protection. 

Find out more about diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine

Vaccine is also be available at Council sessions for all year 7 or equivalent aged children.

Year 10:

Meningococcal ACWY vaccine 

The Meningococcal W-containing vaccine is a single dose four-in-one combined vaccine for protection against meningococcal A, C, W and Y.

Many in this age group will have had a previous dose of meningococcal C when they were very young. This four-in-one vaccine will boost adolescents with the C strain they had as a baby and also protect them against the W, A and Y strains..

Vaccine is also be available at Council immunisation sessions for all year 10 or equivalent aged children

Immunisation schedule

Age Disease Vaccine brand

12-13 years or Year 7 at secondary school

  • Human papillomavirus
  • Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis
  • Gardasil9
  • Boostrix

Year 10 at secondary school

  • Meningococcal ACWY
  • Nimenrix


How to access the service

Council's immunisation service conducts 2-3 free immunisation sessions at all secondary schools in Merri-bek each year.

At the start of each year, or during enrolment, the school distributes an Immunisation Consent Form to all students for a parent or guardian to sign.

Read the information, tear off and complete the consent form, both outside and inside, and return it to the school as soon as possible.

If you do not want your child to be vaccinated you still need to complete and return the form. 

You may choose to access these vaccines at a local council session or at the GP rather than through the school program. If this is the case please ensure you return the consent card so that we are aware. There is space on the form for you to decline the vaccines for your child through the school program.

If you consent yes, explain to your child that immunisation is important and everyone must have these vaccines for protection against disease. Find out how to explain the importance of immunisation to your child.

On the day of the immunisation, encourage your child to eat breakfast and to wear loose clothing so that the upper arm below the shoulder is easily seen. 

If a student is absent for a school immunisation session, a letter will be sent to their home address advising how to access the missed vaccine(s).

If you have any questions, contact Council's immunisation service on 9240 1111.

Catch up immunisation

We are only able to administer school vaccines in the school setting. We cannot administer other vaccines at school.

If you have received a letter from Centrelink stating your high school aged child is not up to date or you are aware your child is not currently up to date with their childhood immunisations we are able to complete these at a Council immunisation session.

You may choose to complete all immunisations due at this time at an immunisation session, rather than splitting them between school and a Council session.

What if I prefer my child to have their vaccines elsewhere?

You can bring your child to a Council immunisation session or to your doctor to receive these vaccines for free.

The vaccines are only available for free at the equivalent year level age that the vaccine is offered at school or in a catch up situation. 

Some vaccines may need to be ordered in advance for your child so inform your doctor of the vaccine you want when you arrange the appointment. While the vaccines are free your doctor may charge a consulting fee. 

Please ensure you still return the consent card distributed at school with the decline box checked.

Flu Vaccine

Free flu vaccine is not offered through the school program but is available at Council sessions to those who fall into medical at risk categories- such as severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 6 months old, and all pregnant women anytime during every pregnancy, are eligible for free flu vaccine.

Children aged under 9 having the vaccine for the first time require 2 doses at least 4 weeks apart. All other age groups require a single dose only. Please contact us for further information.

For any further queries please contact the Immunisation team on 9240 1111 or email Merri-bek immunisation.

Meningococcal vaccines

Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. There are 13 known sub-types and of these, 5 are currently vaccine preventable (B and A, C, W, Y).

  • Meningococcal B vaccine is available for purchase by anyone wishing to reduce their risk on invasive meningococcal disease. Adolescents require 2 doses 8 weeks apart. The cost of the vaccine is $130 per dose (1/7/2020)
  • Meningococcal ACWY vaccine is routinely given in year 10 however a dose can be purchased at anytime by people wishing to reduce their risk on invasive meningococcal disease. The cost of the vaccine is $72 per dose (1/7/2020)