What do the changes mean?
How does this differ from previous requirements?
What if a child is enrolled before 1 January 2016?
What forms are required to be provided at enrolment?
Which vaccines must a child have to be fully vaccinated?
What if a parent fails to provide the appropriate documents?
Which children are exempt from the new requirements?
Why have these changes been made?
Do parents still have a choice to vaccinate their children?
Are unimmunised children able to enrol in child care?
When will parents receive an ACIR Immunisation History Statement for their child?
What if a child was vaccinated overseas?
How can child care centres make sure that current immunisation records are held?
Which diseases must child care centre directors report to public health units?
Are child care centres required to forward immunisation status documentation to primary school principals?
How are the new requirements being enforced?
Who can I contact for more information?

What do the changes mean?

NSW Health has introduced an Interim Vaccination Objection Form for Enrolment in NSW Child Care Centres for use in 2016. 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.

What if a child is enrolled before 1 January 2016?

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

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:

The documents must be stored in a secure location for 3 years, unless a child transfers to another child care centre.

Which vaccines must a child have to be fully vaccinated?

The NSW Immunisation​ Schedule sets out the age-appropriate vaccines for children and the ACIR Immunisation History Statement will indicate if the child is up to date with their vaccinations.

What if a parent fails to provide the appropriate documents?

Parents who fail to provide the required documents cannot enrol their child in a child care centre.

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 facility:

  • 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 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 child care benefits and 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.

Do parents still have a choice to vaccinate their children?

Yes. Vaccination is not compulsory and parents will continue to have the choice whether or not to vaccinate their child.

The new requirements do not change other existing provisions. In the event of specified vaccine preventable disease outbreaks in a child care centre, the public health officer can exclude unvaccinated children to protect them from infection and prevent them from passing diseases to others.

Are unimmunised children able to enrol in child care?

Yes. Children who are unimmunised due to medical reasons or whose parents have an objection to immunisation are able to attend child care provided that the appropriate documentation has been provided.

Children who are behind with their immunisation schedule are able to access child care once the appropriate documentation has been provided that shows they have either caught up or are on a recognised catch-up schedule.

Unimmunised children may be asked to stay at home if there is an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease in a child care centre.

When will parents receive an ACIR Immunisation History Statement for their child?

Parents automatically receive their child’s ACIR Immunisation History Statement in the mail after they complete their immunisation schedule (usually after 4 years of age).

A copy of their child's immunisation details can also be obtained at any time:

What if a child was vaccinated overseas?

Overseas immunisation records must not be accepted by child care centres. Children who were vaccinated overseas need to have their immunisation records assessed by an immunisation provider who will transfer the information to the ACIR. An ACIR Immunisation History Statement will subsequently be issued to parents/guardians upon request.

How can child care facilities make sure that current immunisation records are held?

NSW Health recommends that reminders should be forwarded to parents before their child’s next scheduled immunisations. Parents should be asked to provide an updated ACIR Immunisation History Statement to ensure that current information is recorded in the child care centre register template for each enrolled child.

Which diseases must child care facility directors report to public health units?

Under the NSW Public Health Act 2010 child care centres must notify the following 9 vaccine preventable diseases to the local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055:

  • Diphtheria
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Measles
  • Meningoccocal C
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus

The Public Health Unit may need to review the centre's immunisation register to determine which children are at risk from the outbreak.

Following assessment of the situation, the public health officer may direct the director to exclude certain children for a period, or provide advice regarding preventive measures.

Are child care centres required to forward immunisation status documentation to primary school principals?

No. Child care centres are not required to transfer ACIR Immunisation History Statements or exemption documentation to primary school principals when a child leaves a child care centre however they must retain the information for 3 years.

How are the new requirements being enforced?

NSW Health continues to work with the NSW Department of Education on enforcement of the new requirements. The Education and Care Services Regulations currently prescribe the health information for each child which is required to be collected for enrolment records and which must be produced for compliance purposes, including the immunisation status of all enrolled children. The Regulations have been strengthened to ensure that child care centres must keep the relevant public health records to demonstrate that every child enrolled at the centre has been vaccinated or is exempt. If the regulator requires proof of these documents and they are not held, the centre will be in breach of the national law and could be fined up to $4000.

How do parents get an Interim Vaccination Objection Form?

The Interim Vaccination Objection Form for Enrolment in NSW Child Care Centres is only available from the NSW Health website. Parents should download and print a copy from the website and bring it to a consultation with their medical practitioner/authorised nurse immuniser. The medical practitioner/nurse immuniser should keep the original copy of the form and give the parent a copy to take to the child care centre for enrolment.

Who can I contact for more information?

More information about the new requirements is available by contacting your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.

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Page Updated: Friday 29 January 2016
Page Owner: Immunisation