Immunisation - Secondary Schools

From 1 April 2018, secondary schools became subject to the same immunisation requirements that previously applied only to primary schools. That is, NSW secondary schools are now required to request approved immunisation certificates for each student prior to enrolment.

If the parent 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.

Acceptable evidence of immunisation

The only approved form of evidence of immunisation is an Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) Immunisation History Statement (see sample here). If a student 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".

Secondary students should be recorded as unimmunised if they present with:

Actions the school must take on enrolment

On enrolment, the school must:

  • Record each student’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. A template for record-keeping may be downloaded from NSW Health, however schools may choose to keep records in another form, provided all the required information is maintained.
  • 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.

Further NSW Health support and information

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

Further information about vaccination requirements for schools is available from the NSW Health School Immunisation website.