25 January 2021

Parents and carers with children starting NSW childcare, primary or secondary school this year are being urged to ensure they are up to date with their immunisations.

Director of Health Protection, Dr Richard Broome, said while the NSW vaccination rate is high, some children have missed important vaccines to protect against highly infectious diseases like whooping cough and measles.

“Last year and this year continue to be challenging for many families, especially given the global COVID-19 pandemic but timely childhood vaccination must remain a top priority in the daily lives of busy families,” he said.

Parents and carers with children starting childcare, primary or secondary school in 2021 are reminded to ensure they provide their child’s immunisation history.

Children can only be enrolled in childcare where documented evidence is provided that they are fully immunised for their age, are on a recognised catch-up schedule or have a medical reason not be vaccinated.

“Despite 95 per cent of NSW children being fully vaccinated, in 2019 we saw a number of measles alerts issued across the state, so we are urging parents to book in early, beat the rush and be sure their children are fully up-to-date,” Dr Broome said.

“Making sure that all children are up to date with their immunisations reduces their risk of getting a serious illness and also helps those who can’t be fully vaccinated, like newborn babies and the elderly.”

Immunisation requirements in primary schools were extended in 2018 to include secondary schools. Principals are now required to request an immunisation history statement when students enrol. The changes were made to help control disease outbreaks in schools by collecting accurate information about a child’s immunisation status.

Students without an approved immunisation certificate and those who are unimmunised risk being excluded from school if there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease for their own safety.

Parents can download their child’s statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) from myGov, the Medicare Express Plus App or the AIR enquiry line on 1800 653 809.

Parents and carers are reminded that GP clinics are safe to attend during COVID-19 and have measures in place to protect you and your child during immunisation visits.