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South Australia

Specialist immunisation services provide specialised immunisation advice to healthcare professionals. These services have specialised nursing and medical staff to provide clinical advice on immunisation for children with complex or unusual medical backgrounds or who have had an adverse event following immunisation (AEFI). They can support children who have previously been affected by an AEFI by assessing and planning for immunisation and are able to answer complex questions and concerns relevant to an individual’s experience and circumstances.

In South Australia, the relevant service is the South Australia Specialist Immunisation Service (SIS) at the Women’s & Children’s Hospital.

Last updated on 7 June 2023.


Resource type: Specialist Immunisation Service
Resource Format: On-screen text
SKAI Topic: Childhood
Contact details

South Australia Specialist Immunisation Service (SIS)

Allergy Clinical Investigation Unit 
Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 
Level 6, Zone B (Green), Reiger Building 
Women’s and Children’s Hospital 
72 King William Rd 
North Adelaide SA 5006. 
Phone: 08 8161 7524 - Allergy Department Administration 
Fax: 08 8161 9295

Information for parents and providers
What are the indications for referral?

Babies, children and adolescents can be referred to the SIS for further assessment if they:

  • Have experienced a serious or unexpected AEFI.
  • Have a medical condition that may increase their risk of an AEFI.
  • Have a medical condition that requires complex immunisation schedules.
  • Or their family have significant concerns regarding the safety of vaccines.
  • Have severe needle-phobia and have been unable to receive vaccines.

Some specific conditions that would fulfil referral criteria include:

  • A convulsion, with or without a fever, in close proximity to immunisation.
  • Persistent and inconsolable screaming for greater than three hours.
  • Collapse or shock-like state (hypotonic-hyporesponsive episode - HHE).
  • Anaphylaxis or suspected anaphylaxis.
  • Generalised skin rash and/or angioedema occurring within 12 hours of immunisation.
  • Any other significant problem which is temporally related to immunisation and which is regarded as serious because it resulted in hospitalisation, disability or prevented the completion of the recommended immunisation schedule. 
  • Children who are considered to be at a high risk of experiencing an AEFI because they have an underlying medical disorder including any immunodeficiency disorder.
What can referral offer parents?
  • Up-to-date detailed information and scientific literature on immunisation.
  • In-depth, extended consultations with immunisation specialists (clinical nurse consultant and/or paediatrician) to discuss the benefits and risks of immunisation.
  • Specialist support for children with special needs or needle-phobia.
  • Vaccination under sedation (subject to medical evaluation).
  • Supervised vaccination for children with complex medical conditions, for example, children who are immunosuppressed, receiving chemotherapy, or have a history of anaphylaxis associated with vaccination.
How do I refer a parent?
  • Access to SIS services is available by medical referral only. Referring patients to the SIS is done either through:
    • SA Health’s Immunisation Section or,
    • Medical practitioners can refer by directly contacting the SIS at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. A referral letter addressed to one of the SIS consultants will be required. The referral needs to be faxed to 8161 6246.
    • By reporting an AEFI to SA Health. When SA Health is notified of any unwanted or unexpected event occurring post-immunisation, the Immunisation Section assesses the report and if criteria are met, will refer your patient to the SIS. 
  • Referring doctors needing urgent advice should contact the on-call immunologist via the Women’s and Children’s Hospital switchboard on 08 8161 7000. 
  • More information about referring a child to the SIS is available on the SA Health website and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital website.
What do parents need to take to their appointment?
  • Referral letter.
  • Child’s Medicare card.
  • Child’s Personal Health Record (Blue Book).
What services are offered to providers?
  • The SIS can advise healthcare professionals on clinical issues related to vaccination. To access this service, call the Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s ‘Allergist on Call’ on 08 8161 7000.
  • Healthcare professionals can also contact the SA Health Immunisation Section on 1300 232 272 for more information.