Key messages

  • The 'No Jab, No Play' law aims to improve vaccination rates and reduce the prevalence and spread of disease.

Early childhood education and care services can refer to the Scenarios and Responses section of the Immunisation Enrolment toolkit for detailed guidance on how to respond to specific situations arising from No Jab No Play laws.

Evidence of immunisation for enrolment

Under ‘No Jab, No Play’ what documentation is required as evidence of up-to-date vaccination? 

To have an enrolment confirmed for a child in long day care, kindergarten, family day care or occasional care, parents/carers have to provide the service with:

  • a current Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR); AND
  • the statement must show that the child is up to date with all vaccinations that are due for their age, or that they are able to receive. 

The Immunisation History Statement from the AIR lists the vaccines the child has received and, if applicable, which vaccines are due in the future and when. Medical exemption may also be listed, where applicable.

An Immunisation History Statement from the AIR is the only type of immunisation record accepted by early childhood and care services for the purposes of confirming enrolment and must be provided within the two months prior to the child starting at the service.

The Medicare logo and Australian Government crest must be present and identifiable to be considered a valid Immunisation History Statement. For example, if the statement is page two of a letter from Medicare, both pages need to be presented to the service to confirm enrolment.

After enrolment is confirmed, do parents/carers need to provide a new immunisation history statement to the early childhood service whenever their child receives a vaccination?

Yes. Under the No Jab No Play legislation, parents are required to provide services with an AIR Immunisation History Statement showing that their child's immunisations are up to date.

This obligation continues after enrolment.

When children receive a vaccine, or miss a due vaccine while attending an early childhood service, their immunisation status changes. When this happens, parents/carers need to provide the service with a new Immunisation History Statement that reflects the child's new immunisation status.

Services are required to take reasonable steps to obtain up-to-date Immunisation History Statements from parents/carers, such as regularly reminding them of this obligation, and to keep the latest statement with the child's enrolment records.

Can an enrolled child be excluded from a service if the parent/carer does not provide a current immunisation history statement?

The obligation on services is to ensure that immunisations are up to date as part of the enrolment process and, following enrolment, to take reasonable steps to keep evidence of current immunisation status up to date at the service.

After a child's enrolment has been confirmed, the No Jab No Play legislation does not require services to exclude enrolled children, except in the case of a disease outbreak.

The intent of the legislation is to encourage immunisation, not prevent attendance at early childhood education and care services.

How can parents/carers get an Immunisation History Statement from the AIR?

You can print a copy of your child’s Immunisation History Statement from your myGov account. If you have difficulty getting a copy via your myGov account you can:

  • call the AIR on phone 1800 653 809
  • visit a Medicare or Centrelink office.

Families who do not hold a Medicare card must call the AIR to request an Immunisation History Statement.

A Translating and Interpreting Service is available by calling 131 450, Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:45pm.

Can parents/carers provide proof of immunisations from an immunisation provider (e.g. a GP)?

No. Other forms of documentation, for example a letter from a GP or local council, are not accepted.

What is considered a 'medical exemption' under 'No Jab, No Play' and what documentation is required as evidence?

Some children may be exempt from the requirement to be fully vaccinated on medical grounds. Examples of valid medical reasons that a child could not be fully vaccinated include:

  • an anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of a particular vaccine, or
  • an anaphylactic reaction to any vaccine component
  • has a disease which lowers immunity (such as leukaemia, cancer, HIV/AIDS, SCID), or
  • is having treatment which lowers immunity (such as chemotherapy).

Parents/carers who think their child may require a medical exemption to one or more vaccines should consult their GP.

If a child has a valid medical reason they cannot be vaccinated, a GP needs to complete and sign a Medicare Immunisation Medical Exemption Form, and send it to the AIR.

The parent/carer then needs to obtain an updated Immunisation History Statement from the AIR that indicates the child is up-to-date with all the vaccines that they can have, and listed the vaccines that they cannot have due to a medical contraindication. This statement needs to be provided by the parent/carer to the early childhood service to confirm enrolment.

If parents/carers have questions or concerns about immunisation or particular vaccines, they should seek answers from a qualified source, such as a GP or local council immunisation service. The Better Health Channel also provides quality-assured information online.

Under No Jab No Play, when is a child considered overdue for a vaccine?

A child is considered overdue for a vaccination if four weeks has passed since the date of the 'next vaccine due' listed on their current immunisation history statement. For example, if a child is due for a vaccine when they reach 18 months of age, they will not be considered overdue for that vaccine until they reach 19 months of age without having received the due vaccine. This allows a four week window for parents/carers to arrange for the vaccine to be given.

This aligns with Commonwealth Government child care payments, which are not suspended until four weeks have elapsed following the vaccine due date and the Australian Immunisation Register has not received confirmation that the vaccine has been given in that time.

What do parents/carers whose child's vaccinations are not up-to-date need to do to obtain an Immunisation History Statement? 

If a child's vaccinations are not up-to-date then parents/carers should consult their GP or local council immunisation service about bringing the child's vaccinations up to date.

The GP or local council immunisation service needs to give all vaccinations that are due for their age, or that they are able to receive, and inform the AIR. The parent/carer then needs to request an updated Immunisation History Statement from the AIR. Alternatively, immunisation providers are able to print a copy of the statement and provide it to the family at the time vaccine/s are provided.

The updated Immunisation History Statement showing that vaccines are 'up-to-date' needs to be provided by the parent/carer to the early childhood service to confirm enrolment.

How can parents/carers obtain acceptable documentation if their child was vaccinated overseas? 

Children who were vaccinated overseas must have their vaccine records assessed by a GP or local council and be offered catch-up vaccinations as required. The GP or local council will then report overseas vaccines to AIR by submitting the AIR Immunisation History form. 

The AIR updates the child’s records and the parents/carers can request an Immunisation History Statement from the AIR. Alternatively, immunisation providers are able to print a copy of the statement and provide it to the family at the time vaccine/s are provided. Parents/carers must provide the statement to the early childhood service to confirm enrolment.

About the grace period

What about vulnerable children who are behind on their vaccinations and find it difficult to access the required documentation or immunisation services? 

There are some children in the community whose families face difficulties accessing vaccinations and/or the required documentation to prove immunisation status.

Under the legislation, some families are eligible to enrol and commence at the childcare/kindergarten service, under a 'grace period' provision, while they bring their children's vaccinations up-to-date and/or obtain the required documentation.

Early childhood education and care services, with help from the Departments of Health and Human Services and Education and Training, will support families of children who are not up-to-date with their vaccinations and provide them with information as to where they can access vaccinations.

Who is eligible for the grace period? 

Children experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage are eligible to enrol in a service under a grace period, without having provided proof of up-to-date immunisation. The grace period provisions allow the family to continue to access early childhood education and care services while receiving information and assistance to get their child's immunisations up to date and to obtain the required Immunisation History Statement from the AIR that needs to be provided to the service.

Families who meet any of the following criteria are eligible for the grace period:

  • Evacuated children
    • Children evacuated following emergency (such as flood or fire)
  • Children in emergency care
    • Children in emergency care (for example, emergency foster care) under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005
  • Children in the care of an adult who is not their parent
    • Children in the care of an adult who is not the child’s parent due to exceptional circumstances such as illness or incapacity
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children
    • Children identified by their parents as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander 
  • Other children experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage
    • Children who hold or whose parents hold a health care card, pension concession card, Veterans Affairs Gold or White card
    • Children from a multiple birth of triplets or more
    • Children who are refugees or asylum seekers
  • Children known to child protection
    • Children who are on or who have been on a Child Protection Order
    • Children in or who have been in foster care or out-of-home care
    • Children who have a report made about them under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005
    • Families that have received support through Family Services including ChildFIRST; Services Connect; a community-based child and family service; or an integrated family service. 

How long is the grace period? 

The grace period is for 16 weeks commencing from the date that the child first attends the service.

What needs to happen during the grace period? 

Parents/carers

During the 16 week grace period parents/carers should endeavour to have their child vaccinated if required, and/or obtain the required Immunisation History Statement from the AIR and provide it to the service.

Early childhood services can provide parents/carers with support and information to do this.

Early Childhood Education and Care Services

During the 16 week grace period, early childhood education and care services are required to take reasonable steps to obtain the required Immunisation History Statement from the AIR. 

When can an early childhood education and care service confirm an enrolment?

Having an application accepted or being registered on a waiting list for a place at an early childhood service is not a confirmed enrolment.

Confirmation of enrolment can be given by the service, no more than two months prior to the child first attending, only once the parent/carer has provided the service with:

  • a current Immunisation History Statement from the AIR; AND
  • the statement must show that the child is up to date with all vaccinations that are due for their age, or that they are able to receive; OR
  • is eligible to enrol under the 16 week grace period while the service works with the family to obtain the necessary immunisations/documentation.

An Immunisation History Statement from the AIR is the only accepted document for proving a child’s immunisation status, including that they are up to date with all vaccinations that are due for their age, or that they are able to receive, or have a medical condition that prevents them from being fully immunised for their age. 

Evidence required to qualify to enrol under the Grace Period provision varies depending on the circumstances of the family. Families should discuss their individual circumstances with the service.

Evidence of immunisation after enrolment

Under Victorian law, parents/carers are required to continue to provide early childhood education and care services with evidence that their enrolled child is up to date with their immunisations.

Parents/carers will need to provide their child's service with a new Immunisation History Statement whenever their child receives (or was due to receive) immunisation/s after enrolment.

Who does this apply to?

This obligation applies to the parents/carers of children enrolled in long day care, kindergarten, occasional care and family day care.

Why is this required?

If there is a disease outbreak at the service, accurate and current evidence of immunisation is needed to identify children at risk (for example, children too young to be fully immunised against a disease)  who may need to stay away from the service until it is safe for them to return.

The Victorian Government introduced this requirement to provide an important additional prompt to parents regarding immunisation as part of a continued effort to improve and maintain high childhood immunisation rates and protect the community from vaccine-preventable diseases.

What does the early childhood service do?

The service will regularly request that parents/carers ensure that immunisation evidence is up to date at the service throughout the time your child is enrolled. Services review the immunisation evidence you provide to make sure it meets the requirements of the law and keep it on file with the child's enrolment records.

What do parents/carers do?

If an enrolled child has received a vaccine while they are attending an early childhood education and care service parents/carers should obtain an updated Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) and provide it to the child's service.

If a parent/carer receives a request from the service to ensure that the service has the latest evidence of up to date immunisation, and the parent/carer knows that the service already has the most up to date Immunisation History Statement, they do not need to provide another copy.

About vaccination

Why are vaccinations so important?

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways of preventing disease worldwide. Modern vaccines provide high levels of protection against an increasing number of diseases which, in some cases, can be fatal. Worldwide, it is estimated that immunisation programs prevent approximately 2.5 million deaths each year.

The current immunisation rate in Victoria for children under five years of age is around 95 per cent. This coverage rate is necessary to halt the spread of highly infectious diseases such as measles.

Immunisation not only protects those people who have been vaccinated, it also protects those in our community who may be unable to receive vaccines themselves, by reducing the prevalence and spread of disease.

What immunisations are required for children at childcare and kindergarten? 

The immunisation schedule for vaccines outlines what vaccines are available under the National Immunisation Program and when they should be received.

Children who are not eligible for Medicare are still eligible to receive vaccines on the National Immunisation Program for free.

Where can parents/carers go for immunisation services? 

Local council immunisation services (free service), GPs and health clinics can provide immunisation services.

Are vaccines safe? 

The scientific evidence supporting vaccination is overwhelming, and the benefits far outweigh the very rare risks.
 
All vaccines currently available in Australia must pass stringent safety testing before being approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia's regulatory authority for therapeutic goods. Safety testing is required by law and is usually done over many years during the vaccine's development.
 
Once vaccines are in use, their safety is continually monitored by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and other organisations.
 
All immunisation providers play an important role in reporting adverse events following immunisation which assists in safety surveillance after a vaccine is registered for use in Australia. In Victoria the agency that receives all reports is SAEFVIC (Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Vaccination in the Community) - more information at the SAEFVIC website or 1300 882 924, option one.

About the 'No Jab, No Play' law

What is the objective of the 'No Jab, No Play' law?

The purpose of the No Jab, No Play law is to help increase and maintain high immunisation rates for young children in the community. 

The legislation is designed to: 

  • provide a prompt regarding immunisation for parents/carers enrolling their child in early childhood education 
  • allow for children of families experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage to be able to access the lifelong benefits of early childhood education and care, while being supported to obtain vaccinations and/or required evidence of vaccination.

Since the introduction of the legislation in 2016, immunisation coverage rates for young children have been steadily increasing in Victoria and are now at around 95 per cent. 

What early childhood services does the ‘No Jab, No Play’ law impact? 

The law applies to all early childhood education and care services  in Victoria providing:

  • long day care
  • kindergarten (including 3 and 4 year old kindergarten)
  • occasional care
  • family day care.

The law does not apply to:

  • enrolment in primary or secondary school (however, please note an Immunisation History Statement from the AIR does need to be provided for enrolling in primary school, however there is currently no requirement for the statement to show the child is up to date with all immunisations)
  • children attending an outside school hours care service (after school care, before school care, vacation care)
  • enrolments of school children in long day care, family day care or occasional care
  • casual occasional care services that offer care of no more than 2 hours per day and no more than 6 hours per week (for example, crèches at gyms and shopping centres) playgroups
  • services primarily providing instruction on particular activities (for example, sport, dance or music)
  • services primarily provided or shared by family members of the children (and a family member is readily available and retains responsibility for the child).

Shouldn’t immunisation be a personal choice? 

The legislation does not mandate vaccinations, nor does it require the administration of vaccines without consent. Parents/carers may continue to make a choice not to vaccinate their children.

Governments have a responsibility to make decisions that balance the best possible community health outcomes with individual choices. Preventing problems before they occur is vital to good health.

The purpose of 'No Jab, No Play' is to increase immunisation rates in the community, particularly amongst young children. This is a public health priority, given the serious risk posed by vaccine-preventable diseases and the proven safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Is 'homeopathic immunisation' accepted under ‘No Jab, No Play’? 

No. ‘Homeopathic immunisation’ is not a recognised form of immunisation. For more information view the Homeopathy and Vaccination fact sheet produced by the National Centre for Immunisation Research.

 


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