Purpose of this policy
To inform schools about their student immunisation responsibilities and exclusion processes during an infectious disease outbreak.
While responsibility for the prevention and control of infectious diseases is primarily with individuals, families and public health authorities; schools also have an important role to play.
- are required to request and record the immunisation status of each child, i.e. primary students prior to enrolment. See: Admission, Enrolment
- must follow exclusion requirements, as required
- can support the prevention and control of transmission of infectious diseases by:
- supporting immunisation programs
- providing prompt and consistent response to detected or suspected cases of disease
- should not be expected to:
- give expert advice or treat students. This is the role of medical practitioners and health authorities, as appropriate.
Note: Prior to commencing primary school, children should have received their childhood vaccinations as per the National Immunisation Program Schedule. See: National Immunisation Program Schedule
- Vaccination means having a vaccine – that is, receiving an injection.
- Immunisation means both receiving a vaccine and becoming immune to a disease as a result of being vaccinated.
- Exclusion is the period of time for which a student is required to not attend school.
School Responsibilities – Exclusion Processes
This table details the exclusion processes for primary and secondary students.
The Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009 require children with certain infectious diseases, and children who have been in contact with certain infectious diseases, to be excluded from school for a specified period.
During an outbreak of an infectious disease principals of primary students must:
- be aware of and abide by exclusion requirements
- not allow a child to attend school if:
- they have been informed that the child is infected with an infectious disease, that requires exclusion, as described in Column 2 of Schedule 7 (the school exclusion table).
- they have been informed that a child is a contact of a person who is infected with an infectious disease as described in Column 3 of Schedule 7 (the school exclusion table).
- they have not been immunised against a vaccine preventable disease and are directed to do so by the Secretary and until the Secretary directs that such attendance can be resumed.
- legislatively bound by the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 which require them to comply with the directions of the Chief Health Officer or Authorised Officer in the event of a public health risk such as an infectious disease outbreak.
- not legislatively bound by the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009 exclusion requirements, which apply to primary schools and children's services.
For any assistance or further advice contact the Department of Health - Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Section on 1300 651 160.
For further information on exclusion processes, see the Department of Health - School Exclusion Table
Supporting the Victorian Secondary School Vaccine Program
Secondary schools play an important role in supporting immunisation by forming an effective relationship with their local council and ensuring effective facilitation of their school's vaccine program.
In particular, schools are encouraged to:
- appoint a school immunisation co-ordinator to manage the school's vaccine program.
- ensure the school immunisation coordinator liaises with the local council immunisation officer in the local municipality.
- support the distribution and collection of all vaccine consent forms and obtain completed forms from parents and guardians.
- make use of immunisation resources available from the Department of Health and Human Services (Immune Hero) and your local council to assist with communication to students, parents, teachers and the wider school community about school-aged vaccines.
- ensure appropriate resources and environments are available for the program to run smoothly.
For information on the current schedule of vaccines delivered as part of the secondary school vaccine program, see: National Immunisation Program Schedule
School vaccine program
- Schools are legally authorised to share parent and student contact details with local council for the purpose of immunisation.
- In 2016 the Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (dTp) vaccine, along with HPV and chickenpox vaccines will be offered to Year 7 students only. This marks the end of the transition of the dTp program from Year 10 to year 7.
Refer to your school's Implementation Kit for further information, or see: Immune Hero and go to the school coordinators tab.
- Education and Training Reform Act 2006
- Education and Training Reform Regulations 2007
- Family Law Act 1975
- Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008
- Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009
For more information see: