Local council immunisation services and secondary schools are continuing to work together to deliver the 2020 secondary school immunisation program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Secondary school immunisation program 2020 during COVID-19 factsheet for parents (updated August 2020) has been produced to answer some common questions that have arisen about delivering the program, particularly during the period of learning from home.
Role of secondary schools
Secondary schools play an important role in supporting immunisation by forming an effective relationship with their local council and ensuring effective facilitation of their school’s vaccine program.
In particular, schools are encouraged to:
- Appoint a school immunisation coordinator to manage the school's vaccine program.
- Ensure the school immunisation coordinator liaises with the local council immunisation officer in the local municipality.
- Support the distribution and collection of all vaccine consent forms and obtain completed forms from parents and guardians.
- Make use of immunisation resources available from this web page and your local council to assist with communication to students, parents/guardians, teachers and the wider school community about school-aged vaccines.
- Ensure appropriate resources and environments are available for the program to run smoothly.
For more information, see Department of Education and Training, School Policy Advisory Guide
Authorisation to share contact details
The Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2019 authorises secondary schools to provide their local council with student and parent/guardian contact information for any student scheduled to receive a vaccination. This information assists local councils to follow-up parents/guardians of students with incomplete or missing consent cards.
Contact details must be used strictly for the purposes of delivering the secondary school vaccine program.
Councils can also issue reminders, notifications and information about the program. This may be done by SMS, email, phone call or mailed letter.
What schools need to do
There are two key steps for schools to action at the commencement of the school year:
- Send a collection statement to parents/guardians
The collection statement is to inform them that their contact details will be transferred to local council unless they request otherwise. An example collection statement is available from the download section at the bottom of this page.
- Transfer contact details data to local council.
Instructions are available (in ‘data extraction instructions’ at the bottom of this page) for the following school software programs to extract relevant information to provide to local council:
- TASS. web
- All other systems
If your school software package is not listed, or you have problems with the instructions available for your software system, please refer to the instructions available in "All other systems".
If you encounter issues with the data extraction instructions available on this site and are unable to resolve them with your IT service providers and/or your school software system support contacts, please report the issue via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consent for vaccination
Children and young people under 18 years of age usually require parent/guardian consent to be vaccinated.
What do schools need to do?
Support the distribution and collection of all vaccine consent forms and obtain completed forms from parents/guardians. Consent forms are provided to schools by local councils for schools to distribute to students in Year 7 and Year 10.
Consent without a parent/guardian
The law recognises that as children become older and more mature, they are more capable of making their own decisions about a wide range of issues including decisions about their healthcare and wellbeing. The law recognises that a young person may reach this stage before they are 18 years old. These young people are referred to as 'mature minors'.
There is no specific age when a young person may be deemed a mature minor. Determining whether a young person is a mature minor requires consideration of whether they have sufficient maturity to understand the nature and effect of a decision to be vaccinated. Relevant factors include:
- level of maturity for their age
- understanding of the issues and consequences
- living arrangements (independence).
The following resources have been developed to support councils and schools to work together and to equip schools with the tools and information they require to assist local councils in the delivery the secondary school immunisation program.
To access these resources go to the ‘Downloads’ or ‘Data extraction instructions’ sections at the bottom of this page.
Agreement for local council and secondary school
The purpose of this agreement is to set shared expectations and acknowledge the roles and responsibilities between schools and local councils to deliver the Secondary School Vaccine Program. (7 pages)
Collection statement regarding student contact details
An example letter from school principals to parents/guardians of Year 7 and Year 10 students to let them know that their contact information is shared with the relevant local council for the purposes of delivering the secondary school immunisation program unless they request otherwise. (two pages)
School newsletter article about the secondary school immunisation program
An example article from inclusion in school newsletters or communiques to alert parents/guardians of Year 7 and Year 10 students to the secondary school immunisation program. (one page)
Fact sheet for secondary schools
A brief summary of the secondary school immunisation program for Victorian secondary schools including annual steps and key dates. (two page fact sheet)
Secondary school immunisation program guide for schools
A comprehensive step-by-step guide for school immunisation coordinators and other school staff who are involved in delivering the secondary school immunisation program. (12 pages)
School software instructions for sharing information with councils
Instructions on using common school software programs to extract relevant student contact information to provide to local council for the purposes of delivering the secondary school immunisation program, a data exporter and an excel template for data compilation. (10 documents)