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Catch-up vaccination for adolescents and adults

Guidelines on how to plan a catch-up schedule for adolescents and adults

Catch-up vaccination aims to provide the best protection against disease as quickly as possible by completing a person’s recommended vaccination schedule.

Step 1: confirm the person’s vaccination history. Review the person’s vaccination history to determine whether they are up to date. If you cannot confirm previous vaccination, assume the person has not received that vaccine. People can safely receive most vaccines as additional doses, except for Q fever. If you are not sure how to plan the catch-up schedule, or if the catch-up is complicated, seek further advice from your state or territory health authority.

Step 2: plan a catch-up schedule. Consider laboratory testing to guide catch-up vaccination for hepatitis A and B, MMR, varicella and Q fever. Do not use laboratory testing for any other diseases. Do not use past infection to guide the catch-up schedule. Do not give Q fever vaccine if unsure about the person’s Q fever immunisation status. Check that any previous doses were received at the correct age and dosing intervals. In almost all cases, do not repeat valid doses — count them as part of the schedule. Use the catch-up resources in the Australian Immunisation Handbook to help plan a catch-up schedule. When planning which vaccines are needed, consider the person’s health, age, lifestyle and occupation (HALO).

Step 3: start the catch-up schedule. Discuss the catch-up schedule with the person or their parent or carer before starting. Do not use childhood combination vaccines for adolescents or adults. See the Australian Immunisation Handbook for more details.

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