The following excerpt is taken from the NSW Health Department website and relates to new requirements for the collection of records for the children in our care.
The Public Health Amendment (Vaccination of Children Attending Child Care Facilities) Act 2013 will come into force from 1 January 2014.
What do the changes mean?
The changes to the Public Health Act will mean that a child’s vaccination status must be provided to a child care centre before enrolment. Parents or guardians will need to provide evidence when applying to enrol their child in a child care centre that their child:
- is fully vaccinated for their age, or;
- has a medical reason not to be vaccinated, or;
- has a conscientious objection, including religious beliefs, to vaccination or;
- is on a recognised catch-up schedule if their child has fallen behind with their vaccinations.
How is this different to what is happening now?
At the moment, a child care centre needs to request a vaccination record. The changes will mean that a child care centre must obtain a document showing a child is up to date with vaccination or that they have a valid exemption before enrolment. Currently we have accepted the NSW Health Department Blue Book, these are no longer acceptable. From 1 January the centre will be requesting a copy of the Immunisation History Statement.
A copy of an Immunisation History Statement can also be obtained at any time:
- by calling the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809
- through Medicare Online Services at www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/online
- by requesting a statement by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- by visiting the local Department of Human Services Service Centre, Medicare office or Centrelink office
The stricter document requirements are designed to ensure that:
- parents and guardians have seriously considered vaccination and discussed it with an immunisation provider;
- help prompt parents and guardians who have forgotten to keep their child’s immunisations up to date; and
- make sure the child care centre has accurate information about which children haven’t been vaccinated in case there are cases of a vaccine preventable disease at the centre and preventive measures are required, these will include exclusion from the centre in the case of an outbreak.
More information for parents can be found here.
Parents will receive an Immunisation History Statement in the mail after their child has completed their 18 month and 3½ – 4 year old vaccinations or can request a statement via the above methods.
You will note that the new requirements are for children enrolling in a childcare service, the NSW Health website is silent on children already enrolled however as part of our compliance regime in maintaining a licence to provide care services we are required to keep these records for all children so we will be asking for the latest copy of your child’s Immunisation History Statement and would ask that you work with us in providing updated copies each time an immunisation occurs.