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IMMUNISATION IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Under the Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulation 2012, NSW primary schools are required to seek an Immunisation History Statement for each enrolled child prior to enrolment. If the parent of a primary school child cannot produce this record, the student may still be enrolled but can be excluded from school on the direction of a public health officer for the duration of the outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease in the school. If an unimmunised child comes in contact with a vaccine preventable disease outside school, they can also be asked to stay home during the incubation period to reduce the risk of starting an outbreak.

The only acceptable evidence that a child is fully immunised for their age is the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) Immunisation History Statement (sample here). If a child has received all the vaccines required by 5 years of age, the AIR History Statement will state: "This child has received all vaccines required by 5 years of age".

Children should be recorded as unimmunised if they present with:

an AIR Immunisation History Statement that lists when their next vaccines are due, or

an AIR Immunisation History Form that certifies that they are on a recognised catch-up schedule, or

an AIR Immunisation Medical Exemption Form that certifies they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, or

overseas vaccination records or no documentation.

The school must:

  • record each child’s immunisation status in a register and retain copies of approved immunisation certificates for a period of 3 years after the student has ceased to attend the school
  • provide a copy of a student’s immunisation certificate to another school that the student has transferred to (upon request)
  • notify the public health unit if an enrolled student has a vaccine preventable disease, or if they reasonably believe that an unimmunised enrolled student has come into contact with someone who has a vaccine preventable disease
  • exclude unimmunised students at risk of contracting a disease from attending school on the direction of a public health officer.

NSW Health has a School Immunisation Enrolment Toolkit to support schools to comply with their legal responsibilities under the Public Health Act.

Further information is also available from the NSW Health School Immunisation website.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can parents access the AIR Immunisation History Statement?

The AIR automatically sends an Immunisation History Statement to parents in the mail after the child completes their 4 year old immunisations and the GP/nurse sends the information to the AIR.

Parents may obtain a copy of their child's immunisation details at any time by:

 calling the AIR General Enquiries Line on 1800 653 809.


What if a student was vaccinated overseas?

Overseas vaccination records may be recorded by the school. But they are not sufficient to satisfy requirements. The only acceptable record of immunisation is the AIR Immunisation History Statement – i.e. Australian certification. Vaccination records obtained overseas may be recorded by the school for your own information, but are insufficient on their own without the AIR certificate to demonstrate compliance with the requirements.

 Schools may provide information for parents of students vaccinated overseas about the implications of not having the required records and advise them to:

  • have their overseas immunisation records assessed by an Australian immunisation provider who will transfer the information to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Parents can then request an AIR Immunisation History Statement,
  • or contact the Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809.

 If an Immunisation History Statement is subsequently provided by the AIR and the parent gives this to the school, the child’s status on the immunisation register may then be updated.


Do students in OSHC services need to be vaccinated?

No. While Out of School Hours Care services (i.e. for school aged children) are regulated under the Early Childhood Education and Care provisions of the National Law, the NSW Health website notes that children who are enrolled in formal schooling, and who are attending before or after school care (either on school campuses or externally), are subject to requirements for primary school children and are exempt from the immunisation/enrolment requirements that apply to early childhood services such as preschools and long day care centres.