Immunization in Childcare Settings

What are the current immunization requirements for childcare in NSW?

Since 2018, immunisation in childcare settings requirements have been that all children attending childcare in New South Wales be fully immunized. It is no longer acceptable for a parent to claim exemption on the grounds of a conscientious objection. 

Children may attend childcare if they meet one of the following vaccination criteria:

  • They are up to date with all required vaccinations according to their age.
  • They have a medical exemption that allows them to be unvaccinated.
  • They are on a vaccination catch up plan.

It is now a requirement that parents provide the childcare centre with a current vaccination certificate. This requirement extends to all forms of childcare including preschool, family day care, long day care and occasional care. 

A copy of the child’s immunisation certificate can be requested by parents at any time up until the child turns 14. Certificates can be obtained either through medicare via the MyGov website or the medicare Express app. Alternatively, the Australian Immunisation Register can be contacted via phone.

In New South Wales Immunisation in childcare policies are developed to meet these requirements and are guided by the National Quality Standards (NQS).

The NQS for health and safety

The national quality standards pertaining to immunisation are covered in two specific quality care areas. Quality Area 2 which covers the child’s health and safety and Education and Care Services and National regulations,

The overall purpose of the NQS pertaining to immunisation in childcare settings is to prevent and manage the spread of infectious diseases. Each childcare centre has a duty of care to ensure that all parties including children parents, childcare workers and centre visitors are afforded the highest standards of protection against infectious disease. The childcare centre is obligated to maintain accurate records of the immunisation status of both children and educators, as well as alerting families when any excludable disease has been present at the centre.

What roles a childcare centre normally performs.

Most centres have the following responsibilities:  

  • Reviewing and updating children’s immunisation records. Sending reminder notices to parents when appropriate
  • Keeping staff immunisation records to ensure compliance with regulations pertaining to immunisation for childcare workers NSW. This includes documenting all advice given to staff who refuse requests to be vaccinated.
  • Not enrolling children until they receive the appropriate vaccination status paperwork
  • Displaying wall charts about immunisation
  • Require all staff to meet immunisation requirements for child care workers and to complete their immunisation record
  • Keep staff educated about vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • To notify all families in the event that an outbreak of an immunise-able disease occurs.
  • To exclude a child who is not immunised in the event of such an outbreak.

What roles do families normally play in the immunisation process?

Families need to assist in the implementation of the immunisation policy child care centre by submitting all relevant paperwork to the child care centre. This paperwork is likely to include at least one of -:

  • An immunisation History record showing that the child is up to date
  • An immunisation history record certified by an immunisation provider showing that the child is on a catch-up program
  • An immunisation medical exemption form certified by a GP

Additionally, the family will be required to submit an updated copy of the child’s immunisation record on a six-monthly basis. 

Immunisation childcare restrictions have been put in place by the State Government and childcare centres are obligated to comply.