Keep one or both of the following documents with the child’s enrolment record:
- the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) Immunisation History Statement
- a completed Grace period eligibility assessment form.
Authorised officers from the Department of Education and Training monitor the compliance of early childhood education and care services.
This includes checking that the immunisation status of children is recorded in the enrolment record.
Keeping immunisation records up to date
Babies and younger children are likely to receive additional vaccines after they have enrolled at your service.
Having an up-to-date record of each child's immunisation status is essential in the event of an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.
You need to know the immunisation status of each child so the Department of Health and Human Services can determine which children need to be excluded from attending the service until the risk of infection is passed.
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 are due to receive a vaccine while attending your service, their immunisation status changes. When this happens, parents/carers need to provide you with a new Immunisation History Statement.
You are required to take reasonable steps to obtain up-to-date Immunisation History Statements from parents/carers, and to keep the latest statement with the child’s enrolment records.
This is a requirement under No Jab No Play legislation, and also under the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011, which specify that the approved provider must take reasonable steps to ensure children's enrolment forms are accurate (Regulation 177).
This includes, but is not limited to, the immunisation status of the child.
Reasonable steps to obtain up-to-date Immunisation History Statements from parents/carers after enrolment
Reasonable steps include:
- Twice a year, at an interval no greater than seven months, issuing a general reminder to parents/carers that they are obliged to provide an updated Immunisation History Statement to the service if their child has received or been due to receive a vaccination while attending.
- Review enrolment records for children whose parents/carers may be at greater risk of falling behind with their child's immunisations, and provide follow-up requests for an up-to-date Immunisation History Statement from parents/carers if necessary.
- Assess Immunisation History Statements to ensure they indicate the child is up to date with immunisations.
- Support parents/carers to comply, by providing information or referral to support services.
Download the Immunisation evidence request decision aid flow chart for guidance on following these steps.
Step 1: Twice a year, ask parents/carers to provide an updated Immunisation History Statement
No Jab No Play regulations specify that parents must provide your service with a current statement (if the one you have on record is no longer current) at intervals of no greater than seven months.
This means you should request this information from parents/carers twice per calendar year, timing reminders to comply with the maximum seven-month interval.
Where possible, you can request evidence of current immunisation at the same time as you contact families for other details you need to maintain up-to-date enrolment information.
For guidance on when to send requests for immunisation evidence to parents/carers, download the Scenarios for timing of immunisation evidence requests document.
For guidance on what to include in communications to parents, download the Initial immunisation evidence request text document. The minimum suggested text has been translated in a range of community languages such as Arabic, Dari, Simplified Chinese, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.
A vaccination records reminder card: a free, printed card you can order online and use to prompt parents/carers to provide updated information regarding the immunisation status of an enrolled child. The card provides parents with information on how to obtain updated documentation.
Step 2: Following up with some parents/carers
After allowing a minimum of two weeks for parents/carers to respond to the initial request it is recommended that services review the records of some children who may be more likely to fall behind on immunisations, and, if necessary, provide a targeted request and additional support to the family.
The purpose of follow-up requests is to identify and provide support to families that may benefit from additional reminders about immunisation.
The legislation does not require services to exclude enrolled children who are not up to date with immunisations (except in the case of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak).
The purpose of the legislation is to encourage immunisation, not to create a barrier to early childhood education and care.
Characteristics of children whose parents/carers may benefit fromfollow up reminders include:
- Children whose families have Commonwealth Child Care Subsidy (CCS) suspended at the point a reminder is due to be issued
- Reason: one reason for having the subsidy suspended is that a child is behind on immunisations
- Children who are enrolled in a service that attracts CCS, but whose families are not eligible to receive the subsidy, including those who exceed the income threshold; and those paying full fees for other reasons, and
- Children exclusively attending services that do not attract the CCS; that is, occasional care services and sessional kindergarten services
- Reason: these families are not prompted by the reminder that CCS provides in regard to vaccinations, and may benefit from an additional reminder
- For these families, we recommend that during the enrolment process, you make a note of children who will be due for a vaccine/s in the coming year. For kindergarten children, this will include those who turn four years of age while attending kindergarten
- Children enrolled under the grace period provision
- Reason: these families have or may be experiencing vulnerability or disadvantage and may benefit from additional support from services to maintain immunisation.
How to follow up
If your service has children who fit within the categories above, review the immunisation records you have on file. In the case where the review shows the immunisation evidence is out of date or there is no record of immunisation status, a follow-up request to the parent/carer is recommended.
Follow up requests should be provided in a way that protects the privacy of the family, for example by direct email or private conversation.
Before you issue a follow up request, you should first review the documentation on file to make sure a follow up request is necessary.
Download the Follow-up immunisation evidence request text and the Immunisation evidence request decision aid flow chart.
Step 3: Assessing AIR Immunisation History Statements for compliance after enrolment
In order to keep the process as simple as possible, you need only look for the date of the next due immunisation, on the Immunisation History Statement supplied or on file.
The parent has complied with the legislative requirement if the date of the 'next vaccine due' is a date in the future (that is, on the day the service is viewing the statement), or if the child has completed all their childhood immunisations, in which case the statement will show 'No vaccines due'.
Step 4: Supporting parents/carers to comply, by providing information or referral
If a parent/carer has difficulty understanding the requirements, obtaining the AIR statement, accessing immunisations, has questions or concerns about immunisation, or needs other types of support, you can use the tools provided on the Templates and resources and Contacts pages.
The Scenarios and responses: maintaining records section also has information on how to deal with a range of circumstances relating to requesting Immunisation History Statements after enrolment.
'Reasonable steps' for sessional kindergartens and occasional care services
Families of children exclusively attending services (occasional care services and sessional kindergarten services) that do not attract the Commonwealth Child Care Subsidy (CCS) who do not receive the reminder to vaccinate provided by the suspension of CCS payments,may benefit from targeted follow up from the service when a vaccination is due.
For these families, we recommend that during the enrolment process, services make a note of children who will be due for a vaccine/s in the coming year. This may include those who turn four years of age while exclusively attending sessional kindergarten, those on a catch-up schedule and children enrolled under the grace period provision.
These service types would be considered to have taken reasonable steps to obtain an up to date immunisation history statement for enrolled children if they are providing targeted reminders based on known immunisation status of enrolled children. If targeted reminders are undertaken, then general reminders, outlined above in Step 1, are not necessary, however, services may still choose to issue general reminders to parents, coinciding with confirmation or updating of other details required to maintain up to date enrolment records.
Keeping a record of 'reasonable steps'
The regulations do not specify a particular kind of evidence to be kept that demonstrates services have taken reasonable steps, such as those outline above, to obtain current immunisation evidence for enrolled children. However, keeping a record is good practice and can be used by services to determine they are complying with requirements, for example, the service can determine when the last general reminder to families was issued, when the next reminder is due, and which families have been followed up. The form of the reminder (for example, an article in a regular newsletter, a private email to a family) and therefore the type of record is at the discretion of the service.
If a child transfers to your service from another early childhood education and care service, the parent/carer must provide a copy of the child’s current Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register for enrolment at your service.
Privacy regarding the immunisation status of all enrolled children must be maintained at all times.
If a parent/carer enquires about the immunisation status of another enrolled child, you must not provide this information.
The immunisation status of enrolled children can only be provided in accordance with applicable privacy laws, such as to:
- a Public Health Officer or authorised officer from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services or an authorised officer from a local council upon request, for example, during an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease
- an authorised officer of the Department of Education and Training.