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Childcare immunisation requirements

From 1 January 2016, you may need to prove that your child’s immunisation status is up-to-date before they can enrol or attend an approved early childhood service, under changes to the Public Health Act 2005.  

The service can ask you to show an:

  • immunisation history statement when first enrolling your child
  • updated immunisation history statement when your child passes the 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 months and 4 years vaccination milestones.

If your child is not up-to-date, the service can choose to: 

  • refuse enrolment
  • cancel enrolment or refuse attendance or
  • impose a condition on the child’s enrolment or attendance.

If you always vaccinate your child on time, you provide them with the best protection possible and don’t have to worry.

Services covered

This legislation change only applies to:

  • long day care
  • kindergarten
  • family day care
  • outside school hours care/vacation care
  • limited hours care or occasional care.

Unregulated services are not covered, which includes nannies, babysitters, au pairs, or playgroups.

Are any children exempt?

Children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or who are on a recognised vaccination catch-up schedule are considered up-to-date, and this will be the status on their immunisation history statement. The service cannot refuse to let these children attend, based on their immunisation status.

However, you may still need to provide your child’s immunisation history statement if asked.

Immunisation history statements

An immunisation history statement says whether a child’s immunisation status is ‘up-to-date’ or ‘not up-to-date’. This can be:

The Personal Health Record (the ‘red book’) from Queensland Health is not acceptable proof of immunisation because it only contains handwritten updates.

Check with your service to find out what their policy is.

Read more about finding immunisation records.

Missing or incomplete records

You may:

  • have an incomplete or inaccurate immunisation history for your child
  • be unable to retrieve overseas immunisation records
  • be unable to access your child’s immunisation history statement (e.g. a child in the care of the State).

You can talk to your GP or immunisation provider about your child’s immunisation requirements. They can review your child’s immunisation history, begin a catch-up vaccination schedule if needed, or give you an immunisation history statement.

Read more about finding immunisation records.

Catch up vaccination schedules

If your child has missed one of their scheduled vaccinations, see your GP or immunisation provider to:

  • review your child’s immunisation status
  • talk about the need for any catch-up vaccinations
  • plan a schedule to catch up your child with the recommended vaccinations
  • update your child’s records if needed.

New enrolments

When you go to enrol your child, you may be asked to provide your child’s immunisation history statement by a certain time.

If you cannot provide your child’s up-to-date immunisation history statement, the service may:

  • refuse to enrol your child
  • accept enrolment but refuse attendance until you provide your child’s immunisation history statement
  • accept enrolment and allow attendance with conditions until you provide your child’s immunisation history statement
  • accept the enrolment of your child.

Check with your service to find out what their policy is.

Already enrolled

If your child is enrolled at a service and they pass one of the vaccination milestones (at 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 months and 4 years), the service may ask you to provide an updated immunisation history statement showing that your child’s immunisation status continues to be up-to-date.

The service must give you at least 4 weeks’ notice to provide a current immunisation history statement before they decide to:

  • cancel your child’s enrolment
  • refuse to allow your child to attend the service until proof of up to date immunisation status is provided, or
  • impose another condition on the child’s enrolment or attendance until proof of up to date immunisation status is provided.

Check with your service to find out what their policy is.

I don’t want my child to be vaccinated

The legislation does not make immunisation mandatory or stop services from allowing unvaccinated children to enrol or to attend. It aims to protect children and adults who work in early childhood settings from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Refusing to allow a child to enrol or attend a service based on their immunisation status is not unlawful discrimination under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.

If you have recorded a conscientious objection to vaccination through the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, your child’s immunisation status will show as ‘not up-to-date’. Under Queensland law, enrolment and attendance of these children is at the discretion of the service.

Check with your service to find out what their policy is.

The Australian Government has changed legislation regarding immunisation requirements. From 1 January 2016 Conscientious Objection has been removed as a reason for vaccination exemption.

If you have concerns about vaccinating your child, talk to your doctor or immunisation provider for advice. Immunisation is highly effective at preventing serious and life threatening infectious diseases.  Worldwide, it has been estimated that immunisation programs prevent approximately 2.5 million deaths each year. 

Tax benefits and child care subsidies

The Australian Government has changed legislation regarding the immunisation requirements for tax benefits and child care subsidies. Conscientious objection will be removed as a reason for a vaccination exemption.

These are separate to the changes by the Queensland Government. 

Service providers

Information for ECEC services about how to implement these changes in their service.

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
17 February 2016

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