What do the changes mean?
How does this differ from previous requirements?
Why have these changes been made?
What if my child is enrolled before 1 January 2016?
What evidence is required?
Which children are exempt from the new requirements?
Why is it important for children to be vaccinated?
Which vaccines must a child have to be fully vaccinated?
Does this mean that vaccinations are compulsory?
If a child is fully immunised, what documentation is needed to enrol in child care?
What forms are required to be provided at enrolment?
What if a child can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons?
What if a child is behind on their immunisations?
What will parents with an objection to vaccination have to do?
Resources

What do the changes mean?

NSW Health has introduced an Interim Vaccination Objection Form for Enrolment in NSW Child Care Centres for use in 2017. Parents with an objection to vaccination who wish to enrol their child in child care from 1 January 2016 have to present the new form, co-signed by them and a medical practitioner or authorised nurse immuniser, to the child care centre at enrolment. The Commonwealth has also updated the ACIR Immunisation Medical Exemption Form and the ACIR Immunisation History Form.

How does this differ from previous requirements?

The Interim Vaccination Objection Form for Enrolment in NSW Child Care Centres replaces the Commonwealth conscientious objection form that has been deleted as part of the ‘No Jab, No Pay’ measure that tightens the eligibility requirements for child care benefits and family tax payments. More information about these Commonwealth changes is available from the Australian Department of Social Services​.

Since 1 January 2014, NSW child care centres have been prevented under the Public Health Act 2010 from enrolling children unless approved documentation is provided that indicates that the child is fully immunised for their age (ACIR Immunisation History Statement​), has a medical reason not to be vaccinated (ACIR Immunisation Medical Exemption Form​​), is on a recognised catch-up schedule (ACIR Immunisation History Form), or has a parent who has an objection to vaccination (Interim Vaccination Objection Form for Enrolment in NSW Child Care Centres). These requirements remain unchanged.

Why have these changes been made?

The forms used in NSW for enrolment in child care were the same forms used by the Commonwealth to demonstrate eligibility for family assistance payments as they were familiar to both parents and immunisation providers. As the Commonwealth has changed some of the forms under the ‘No Jab, No Pay’ measure, it was necessary to change the approved forms for enrolling in child care from 1 January 2016.

What if my child is enrolled before 1 January 2016?

Parents who enrolled their children in 2015 to commence child care in 2016 do not need to provide the new forms.

What evidence is required?

Parents 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;
  • their child has a medical reason not to be vaccinated, or;
  • their child is on a recognised catch-up schedule if the child has fallen behind with their vaccinations, or;
  • the parent has an objection to vaccination.

Which children are exempt from the new requirements?

The following are permanently exempt from the new requirements:

  • children who are enrolled in formal schooling (for example, attending before and after school care both on school campuses or externally)
  • services providing education and care to children primarily on an ad hoc, temporary or casual basis (for example, crèches in shopping centres and gyms)

The following classes of children are temporarily exempt from the new requirements and the documentation must be provided within 12 weeks from the date of enrolment in the child care centre:

  • those who have been placed in out-of-home care as a matter of emergency
  • those who are being cared for by an adult who is not the child’s parent due to exceptional circumstances such as illness or incapacity
  • those who have been evacuated following a state of emergency (for example, a declared natural disaster)

Why is it important for children to be vaccinated?

Vaccination is the best way to protect a child from serious diseases. If most children are vaccinated this also protects those who are too young to be vaccinated or those who can’t be vaccinated because of medical conditions.

The more people who vaccinate their children, the greater our ability to control serious vaccine preventable diseases.

For effective disease control, 95% immunisation coverage is needed. In NSW around 90% of children at 1 and 2 years of age are fully immunised. However in some areas of NSW the immunisation rates are much lower, putting these areas at much greater risk of outbreaks of diseases such as measles and whooping cough.

Which vaccines must a child have to be fully vaccinated?

The NSW Immunisation Schedule [PDF] sets out the age-appropriate vaccines for children.

Does this mean that vaccinations are compulsory?

No. It is the parent’s choice whether or not to vaccinate their child.

If a child is fully immunised, what documentation is needed to enrol in child care?

A copy of the Immunisation History Statement, issued by the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR), will need to be given to the child care centre prior to enrolment showing that the child is up to date with their vaccinations.

Parents will receive an ACIR Immunisation History Statement in the mail after their child completes their immunisation schedule (usually after 4 years of age).

A copy of an ACIR Immunisation History Statement can also be obtained at any time:

What forms are required to be provided at enrolment?

From 1 January 2016, parents must provide a copy of one or more of the following documents to enrol in a child care centre:

​* This form must be signed by the GP and lodged with Medicare and a copy provided by the parent to the child care centre on enrolment.

What if a child can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons?

Some children are not able to receive vaccines due to a severe allergy or illness. If they are otherwise well enough to attend child care, these changes do not prevent children with medical contraindications to vaccination enrolling in child care. Also some children have a acquired immunity to some diseases through infection and do not require vaccination, including hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella.

Parents of children with a medical exemption need to ask their GP to complete the ACIR Immunisation Medical Exemption Form, lodge the form with Medicare, and obtain a copy of the form so that it can be presented to the child care centre where the parent wishes to enrol their child. A child with a medical exemption to one or more vaccines will have these vaccines listed at the bottom of the ACIR Immunisation History Statement.

What if a child is behind on their immunisations?

Vaccinating children on time is very important as this gives them the earliest protection against serious vaccine preventable diseases. Minor coughs and colds are not a reason to delay vaccination.

Parents should strive to keep their children up to date. The free phone app Save the Date to Vaccinate can help parents get their children vaccinated on time.

If children are behind when the time comes to enrol, parents will need to have a consultation with an immunisation provider and start a certified catch-up schedule, using the ACIR Immunisation History Form . This is a triplicate form that must be lodged with Medicare by their doctor/immunisation provider. A copy must be given to the parent so that they can present this to the child care centre at enrolment.

What will parents with an objection to vaccination have to do?

If a child is unvaccinated due to their parent having an objection to vaccination, the parent must first have a consultation with a medical practitioner or authorised nurse immuniser and arrange for the Interim Vaccination Objection Form for Enrolment in NSW Child Care Centres​ ​to be co-signed by the medical practitioner or authorised nurse immuniser and the parent before enrolling their child in child care. At the consultation, the medical practitioner or authorised nurse immuniser will:

  • explain the benefits and risks of immunisation
  • provide advice on disease signs and symptoms and when to seek medical advice
  • explain the potential dangers now and later in life if a child is not immunised
  • discuss the wider consequences of not complying with the NSW Immunisation Schedule (e.g. exclusion from school during diseases outbreaks)

How do I get a copy of the Interim Vaccination Objection Form?

The Interim Vaccination Objection Form for Enrolment in NSW Child Care Centres is only available from the NSW Health website. Download and print a copy from the website and take it with you to your medical practitioner or authorised nurse immuniser. The medical practitioner or authorised nurse immuniser should keep the original copy of the form and give you a copy to take to the child care centre for enrolment.

Resources

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Page Updated: Wednesday 29 March 2017
Page Owner: Immunisation