Law change to keep unvaccinated children from enrolling in childcare

The NSW Parliament has passed a Bill to amend the Public Health Act to strengthen vaccination enrolment requirements in childcare.

The changes come into effect on Monday and include:

  • Children who are unvaccinated due to their parent’s conscientious objection will no longer be able to be enrolled in childcare.
  • It will be an offence for a principal to fail to comply with the childcare vaccination enrolment requirements.
  • It will be an offence for a person to forge or falsify a vaccination certificate.

The vast majority of the state’s children will be unaffected by the changes, as over 93 per cent of children in NSW are fully vaccinated at one and five years of age.

That number is even higher in the Bathurst local health district, where, based on a 2015-16 healthy communities report, more than 96 per cent of five-year-olds are fully vaccinated.

When last measured in December 2015, parental conscientious objection affected only around 1.15 per cent of children aged up to seven years in NSW.

Children who cannot be fully vaccinated due to a medical condition or who are on a recognised catch-up schedule will still be able to be enrolled upon presentation of the appropriate form signed by a medical practitioner.

The new requirements do not change other existing provisions.

A register of the age appropriate vaccination documentation still needs to be maintained for each child and in the event of specified vaccine preventable disease outbreak in a child care centre the public health officer can exclude children who are not vaccinated for that disease to protect them from infection and prevent them from passing diseases to others.