29
May

Immunisation Policies at The Childcare Centre

Posted on May 29 2024 Categories: ,

Although this subject has been widely reported and discussed since at least 2017, spending a few words restating the current law and providers’ policies in this area is worthwhile.

For all childcare centre providers, this is a critically important subject.

Childcare centre – not medically qualified

Childcare centres may have first-aid capabilities but please remember that they are not qualified medical practitioners.

Only your doctor can advise you on your child’s vaccination matters. All a childcare centre can do is summarise the law as it currently stands and how that law is implemented through its policies.

History of vaccination and immunisation
The exact history of vaccination is sometimes disputed over points of detail but almost everyone agrees that for more than a century the various forms of immunisation have been successful in hugely reducing the incidences of several major diseases.

By the 3rd quarter of the 20th century, almost everyone in the industrialised world accepted the wisdom of having children vaccinated against a wide range of serious diseases. However, towards the end of the century, some increasingly questioned the merits of early childhood vaccination in all or part.

The exact sequences of events need not concern us nor the reasoning behind vaccination scepticism. Suffice it to say that vaccination statistics were declining by the first decades of the 21st century. In Australia, this was most notable in WA where by 2019, the state had some of the lowest national vaccination rates for young children.

There is no intention here to form views of rights or wrongs. What is clear in the historical record is that national and state governments started to take steps to address the position.

The principles of ‘No Jab, No Play’
Following considerable debate and some controversy, on the 22nd of July 2019, the WA state government passed the “NJNPlay” law.

Essentially, that means that upon enrolment in a childcare centre, Kindy or preschool centre, parents must provide a certificate showing that their child’s vaccinations comply with the National Immunisation Program Schedule. That is their Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) Immunisation History Statement.

Typically, that means the child must have been vaccinated against a range of childhood diseases including:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (whooping cough) (DTaP);
  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR);
  • Polio;
  • Haemophilus b (Hib);
  • Varicella (Chickenpox);
  • Hepatitis B;
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) to protect against pneumonia and meningitis;
  • Meningococcal ACWY to protect against meningococcal disease.

 

The exact requirements may vary slightly, depending on the child’s age.

Exemptions

There are only a small number.

They might include cases where the child has another medical condition which might be considered to make vaccination inadvisable. This usually requires a doctor’s certification and confirmation.

Some children might already have a natural immunity based upon a pre-existing exposure to or occurrence of one of the targeted diseases. In some such instances, vaccination might not be recommended. Once again, that would require a doctor’s certification.

Confused?
Sometimes the laws here can be confusing!

As stated above, we cannot give medical advice but we can offer guidance on what these laws might mean for your child and their enrolment in a childcare centre.

We always welcome the opportunity to meet parents, so why not call for an appointment now? We’d love to help you understand how we function and how the immunisation laws work.