As of 1 November 2018, early childhood education and care services need to ensure parents and carers of children attending their service provide an updated immunisation history statement as evidence that their child continues to be up to date with immunisations while attending the service twice per year.
This is in addition to the original requirement, introduced by law in January 2016, which requires children to be fully-vaccinated when enrolling in early childhood services.
Consultation with early childhood education and care services
The Department of Education and Training with the Department of Health and Human Services consulted closely with early childhood education and care services regarding the amendments to the No Jab No Play legislation, and to determine the best way to implement requests to parents and carers so there is minimal impact on services while still working towards the shared goal of maintaining high immunisation rates.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the consultation activities. The feedback you provided helped to define the regulation interval period and identify what resources were needed to support implementation with processes already occurring in services.
What is required under the new regulations?
The No Jab No Play regulations specify that parents and carers must provide the service with evidence that their child continues to be up to date with immunisations while attending the service at intervals of no greater than seven months.
It is suggested that services request this information twice per calendar year, timing reminders to comply with the maximum seven month interval, and where possible, aligning requests for evidence with existing processes for maintaining up to date details for families and children. This could include requesting a current immunisation history statement at census data collection times, through re-enrolment processes, or at end of financial year activities.
These requests for updated evidence will act as additional reminders and assist parents and carers to remember and prioritise timely vaccination in the face of competing life pressures.
What support is available to assist services to implement the new regulation?
The Department of Education and Training has been working with the Department of Health and Human Services to develop practical resources to support all early childhood services with this requirement. This includes:
- an updated, online version of the Immunisation Enrolment Toolkit is now available. The toolkit includes all relevant information and supporting resources to assist parents and carers to meet their obligations under the No Jab No Play legislation
- example letter templates to support services to request updated immunisation history statements from parents and carers (included in the toolkit)
- scenarios and suggestions for how to support families in different circumstances (including families experiencing disadvantage, non-Medicare card holders) (included in the toolkit)
Victoria currently has the highest vaccination rate for children under five years of age in Australia, with the latest figures from the Australian Immunisation Register showing that 95.7 per cent of five-year-olds are now fully immunised in Victoria. This is due in part to the key role that early childhood education and care services play in implementing No Jab No Play requirements.
We are very grateful for your continued support and willingness to promote the importance of timely vaccination to children and the families in your community.
For further information, see: Immunisation Enrolment Toolkit or No Jab No Play