Time is running out for parents to ensure their young children are vaccinated before the Marshall Government’s No Jab, No Play law comes into effect when they return to childcare services next year.
As the clock ticks down to Jan 1, the State Liberal Government will use the last week of school, starting Monday, to remind childcare services to tell parents they will be required to provide approved immunisation records to providers to help prevent and control outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases.
Immunisation generally takes between two and four weeks, depending on the vaccine and whether it’s a booster.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, urged parents to protect their young children by getting them vaccinated if they had not already done so.
“We are committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of young South Australians and we know immunisation is one of the most effective ways to do so,” Minister Wade said.
“The heartbreak of seeing a child sick, or even worse, is magnified when you know it was potentially preventable, so we urge all parents of young children to make sure they get their kids immunised.”
From 1 January 2020, early childhood services will be required to keep a copy of all approved immunisation records for the duration a child is enrolled in their service.
If there is an outbreak of a disease at the centre, then children who have not been immunised will not be allowed to enter.
As a result of changes made in mid-2019 to the South Australian Public Health Act 2011, from next year, parents will be required to provide approved immunisation records to childcare centres, family day care, pre-schools, kindergartens and early learning centres upon enrolment, and at other specific ages throughout the child’s attendance at the service.
This new requirement will give the Chief Public Health Officer the ability to access immunisation records and exclude susceptible children from early childhood services in the event of any type of vaccine preventable outbreak.
The Marshall Government is striving to achieve the highest childhood immunisation rates in the nation and this is the next step towards making this goal a reality.
This change follows the introduction of the Meningococcal B Program which has seen 74 per cent of children aged one to four receiving at least one dose of vaccine, the introduction of free influenza vaccines for children under five, and is looking at allowing pharmacists to provide the influenza vaccine for children aged 10 and over.
The Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Director of Communicable Disease and Control Branch, Dr Louise Flood, said children are very vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases.
“For many vaccine preventable diseases, immunisation not only protects individuals but also vulnerable people in the community who are too young or too unwell to be vaccinated,” Dr Flood said.
“The ability to access an individual child’s vaccination record and exclude unvaccinated children during a disease outbreak will help protect not only the individual child, but also the wider community, by minimising the spread of disease.”
In most cases, an approved immunisation record is a child’s immunisation history statement from the Australian Immunisation Register.
For more information, visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/immunisation.