Immunisation - 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 and record each child’s immunisation status in a register. If the parent of a primary school child cannot produce this record, the student may still be enrolled but should be recorded as unvaccinated in the school’s immunisation register. Any student recorded as not fully immunised may 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.
Evidence of immunisation
The only approved form of evidence of immunisation is an 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.
Actions the school must take on enrolment
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.
The Public Health Act requires that certain medical conditions be notified to the relevant NSW public health unit. Principals must notify their local public health unit as soon as possible after they are made aware that a child enrolled at the school:
- has a vaccine preventable disease, or
- it is reasonably suspected an unvaccinated student has come into contact with a person who has a vaccine preventable disease.
Further information about infectious disease notifications can be found on the NSW Health website.