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What if I choose not to vaccinate my child?

Key facts

  • Vaccination is recommended for all children.

  • If you decide not to vaccinate your child, they will be more likely to catch a range of infectious diseases that can be serious.

  • You may also face limitations when it comes to government payments, access to childcare or school, travel options and employment opportunities.

Last updated on 7 June 2023.

Vaccination is recommended for all children unless they have a medical condition. If you decide not to vaccinate your child, or not to get all the recommended vaccinations on time, there are some things you’ll need to know.

Your child will be at an increased risk of catching a serious infection, as well as an increased risk of that infection developing into a severe illness. Even if treated, some infectious diseases have life-long effects on the children who catch them. You can read more about serious infectious diseases and how to recognise them in What are the symptoms of infectious diseases?

You may face restrictions on some government payments, and limitations on your child’s access to childcare, school, and work opportunities. Your child may also face increased risks when travelling, or being visited by friends and family who have recently travelled. 

No Jab No Pay

Under the national policy known as ‘No Jab No Pay’, families with children under the age of 20 are only eligible to receive certain government payments if their children are fully vaccinated. These include Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A payments or child care fee assistance.

Certain exemptions are available, however, a personal choice not to vaccinate is no longer an accepted exemption.

No Jab No Play

Every state and territory has policies around access to childcare and school for children who have not been vaccinated.

Across the country, children who have not had all the recommended vaccines will be asked to stay away from childcare or school if there is an outbreak of disease. These outbreaks can last for weeks and unvaccinated children must stay away until the outbreak is over.

In some states, children are not allowed to enrol in childcare at all if they have not had all the recommended vaccines and are not eligible for an approved exemption. These restrictions are known as ‘No Jab No Play’ policies.


In some states, your child will only be allowed to undertake training for jobs in healthcare or the military if they are fully vaccinated. Adults who need vaccinations to qualify for employment usually have to pay for them, and costs can be in the hundreds of dollars.


Some of the diseases children are vaccinated against in Australia are more common in other countries, including some destinations in South-East Asia and the Pacific. If you are planning to travel, or if you are being visited by friends or family who have travelled recently, then your child may be at risk of getting measles, rubella, chickenpox, diphtheria, pneumococcal disease, pneumonia or meningitis, hepatitis B, polio, or rotavirus.