How to use the Handbook
Structure of the Australian Immunisation Handbook and how to use the website functions.
This page was added on 08 June 2018.
This page was updated on [date-counter-updated-date]. View history of updates
What’s new in web version 2.0
The Australian Immunisation Handbook remains an authoritative resource for health professionals. We’ve made some changes that will make it even easier to use and navigate the Handbook website.
Copy and share links
Easily copy links to specific sections by clicking on the link icon next to each heading. Share the link by email or SMS to direct someone to that specific Handbook section.
Bookmark specific Handbook sections so you can quickly find them again. Click on the link icon next to the heading, and then click the bookmark button in your browser. Shortcuts for this function are Control + D on PC and Command + D on Mac. You can add multiple bookmarks on a page.
Highlight text in the Handbook that’s important to you. Search for a free ‘highlighter extension’ for your browser and download it. Then select the text you need and click on the highlighter tool.
‘On this page’ navigation
Quickly skip to the section you need on each page using the ‘On this page’ table of contents feature at the top of each page. This feature replaces the previous collapsible sections.
As you scroll down the page, the ‘On this page’ box at the top shows which section of the page you are on. Use the dropdown menu in this box to quickly navigate to different sections on the same page.
You can also use the table of contents on the side to navigate to a different section within the Handbook.
View figures in full screen
Expand figures and view them in full screen mode. Hover over any figure and click on the magnifying glass icon or double tap to expand it.
Page status indicators
Pages that have been updated or recently added have flags next to the relevant headings. The flags are ‘updated’ in green (for updated pages), or ‘new’ in red (for recently added pages).
The Handbook has tables, figures and infographics to help visualise information or techniques. View and download these in the Resources section.
Some sections may have links to videos in the future to help explain concepts such as administering intramuscular injections.
Find out about upcoming news or changes in the Announcements section. Access this from the home page or About the Handbook.
Navigating the digital Handbook
The Handbook was developed to be easy to understand and use. It features plain English writing, while remaining technically accurate and evidence based.
The home page contains links to the frequently used Handbook sections, recent updates, announcements and recently updated resources.
The Contents page links to the main Handbook sections.
The menu across the top of the page gives you quick access to frequently used sections:
- Diseases links to a list of the 24 vaccine-preventable diseases covered in the Handbook.
- Vaccines lists all the vaccines available in Australia and selected components – filter by disease, vaccine group, audience, administration route or sponsor, or use the search box
- Resources lists all the Handbook tables and figures, and includes downloadable information sheets on a range of topics
Every page has a ‘back to top’ arrow at the bottom right of the screen.
Scroll to the bottom of every page to find useful links to immunisation groups, glossary and abbreviations, more about immunisation, and copyright and disclaimer notices.
To search the entire Handbook, use the search box at the top right. You can filter results by content type. The autosuggest function will autofill search terms for you as you type.
Help us improve
Use the 'Is there something wrong' or the 'Provide feedback' link under 'Help us improve' in the footer of every page to tell us if something is not working or should change. This will help us improve the Handbook website and mobile app.
Structure of the Handbook
The Handbook has 6 parts.
About the Handbook
This section contains introductory information about immunisation and the Handbook. Find out how the Handbook was developed and how to use it, as well as updates and a link to the Handbook mobile app.
Fundamentals of immunisation
This section provides an overview of the concepts involved in immunisation. Find information about types of vaccines, safety and effectiveness, adverse events and passive immunisation.
This section describes the processes and procedures involved in a vaccination encounter, including:
- preparing for vaccination – pre-vaccination screening and consent, infection prevention and control, equipment, and cold chain requirements
- administration of vaccines – routes of administration, injection sites and injection techniques
- after vaccination – immediate after-care, documenting and reporting vaccination to the register, and adverse events following immunisation
This section provides information on catch-up vaccination. It includes principles of catch-up vaccination and resources to help calculate catch-up schedules for people of all ages.
Vaccination for special risk groups
This section provides information on vaccination for special risk groups:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- international travellers
- migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia
- people who are immunocompromised
- women who are planning pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding
- preterm infants
- people who have had an adverse event following immunisation
- people who have recently received normal human immunoglobulin or other blood products
- people with bleeding disorders
- people who need vaccination before or after anaesthesia or surgery
- people at occupational risk
- other groups
This section contains 24 chapters. Each chapter deals with a specific disease for which a vaccine(s) is currently available in Australia. All disease chapters follow the same format:
- Vaccines, dosage and administration
- Contraindications and precautions
- Adverse events
- Nature of the disease
- Clinical features
- Vaccine information
- Transporting, storing and handling vaccines
- Public health management
- Variations from product information
In some instances, the recommendations in the Handbook from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) may differ from information provided by the manufacturer in the vaccine product information. These differences may be recommendations that are in addition to, or instead of, those listed in the product information.
Variations from product information
Where a variation exists, the ATAGI recommendation should be considered best practice.