Immunisation requirements for child care services, kindergarten and schools

Changes to the Public Health Act 2016 (WA) and the School Education Act 1999 (WA) have introduced immunisation requirements for enrolment into child care services, community kindergartens and schools.

Overview of WA's immunisation requirements

Under recent changes to the Public Health Act 2016 (WA) (external site) and the School Education Act 1999 (WA) (external site), persons in charge of child care services, community kindergartens and schools have legal responsibilities in relation to the immunisation status of children, as outlined below:

  • collect immunisation status information at the time of a child’s enrolment in child care services, community kindergartens and schools.
  • report the immunisation status of enrolled children to the Chief Health Officer, when directed to do so.
  • report a child who has or is reasonably suspected to have contracted a vaccine-preventable notifiable infectious disease to the Chief Health Officer, when directed to do so.
  • not permit a child to attend or participate in an educational programme of the child care service, community kindergarten or school, if the child has not been immunised against a vaccine-preventable notifiable infectious disease, when directed to do so by the Chief Health Officer.
  • close the whole or part of the child care service, community kindergarten or school in order to limit or prevent the spread of a vaccine-preventable notifiable infectious disease, when directed to do so by the Chief Health Officer.

Additional legal requirement for child care services, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten only:

Only enrol a child:

  • whose AIR Immunisation History Statement is ‘up-to-date’,
  • who is following an approved catch-up schedule as indicated on the child’s AIR Immunisation History Form;
  • who has a valid immunisation certificate issued or declared by the Chief Health Officer, or
  • if you are satisfied the child is exempt because of particular family circumstances.

For more information on WA’s immunisation requirements, please refer to the WA Immunisation Requirements: Guidelines for persons in charge of child care services, community kindergartens and schools (PDF 2.2MB).

New No Jab No Play legislation

On 22 July 2019, changes to the Public Health Act 2016 (WA) and the School Education Act 1999 (WA) came into effect that will help to increase vaccination rates of children in Western Australia (WA) and better protect the community from vaccine preventable notifiable infectious diseases.

When enrolling a child into any child care service, kindergarten or school, parents/guardians are already required to provide their child’s Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) Immunisation History Statement. This statement must not be more than two months old.

Under these new changes, the child’s immunisation status must be ‘up to date’ according to their AIR Immunisation History Statement to be permitted to enrol into long day care, family day care, pre-kindergarten or kindergarten.

Exceptions apply to children who have an approved medical exemption to a vaccine, have natural immunity to a specific disease, are on an approved catch-up schedule, or are identified as an exempt child because of a particular family circumstance.

Kindergarten enrolments

As of 22 July 2019, if enrolment of a child attending kindergarten in 2019 or 2020 has already been finalised, the enrolment is not impacted by this change.

Where an application for enrolment has not been accepted and/or finalised, the new immunisation requirements must be met.

Students enrolled at the same school for the remainder of 2019 are not affected by the changes.

Child care enrolments

As of 22 July 2019, where an application for enrolment has not been accepted and/or finalised, the new immunisation requirements must be met.

All new child care enrolment applications lodged by parents/guardians from 22 July 2019 onwards are subject to the new legislative changes.

More information

  • Persons in charge of child care services, community kindergartens and schools

For more information on how to apply the new legislation during the enrolment process, please refer to:

  • Parents/guardians

For more information:

Parents/guardians are encouraged to ensure their children’s vaccinations are ‘up-to-date’ to avoid their application for enrolment being declined.

Immunisation support

The Department of Health provides support to families and persons in charge of child care services, kindergartens and schools in the following ways:

  • where parents are not permitted to enrol their child into kindergarten due to their immunisation status or where parents require other types of immunisation support, the school can refer these parents directly to the Department of Health using the Request for immunisation support form (external site)
  • information provided by persons in charge to the Department of Health is used to contact the parents/guardians of under-vaccinated children and offer support to access local immunisation services in order to get their child fully vaccinated; and
  • when directed to do so, persons in charge will be supported to limit or prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable notifiable infectious disease, through various measures.
Reporting under-vaccinated children

Under regulation 10C of the Public Health Regulations 2017, the Chief Health Officer may direct the relevant person in relation to a school including community kindergarten, or the persons in charge of a child care service to provide a report to the Chief Health Officer in respect of information given to that person about the immunisation status of children enrolled at the school, community kindergarten or child care service.

Current reporting requirement

  • Child care service enrolments: the Chief Health Officer has directed that persons in charge of child care services report all enrolled children whose immunisation status is either ‘not up to date’ or unknown, by completing the Immunisation Status of a Child Reporting Form (external site), and anytime a child enrols into a child care service prior to 31 March 2020.
  • Child care service, kindergarten and school enrolments – if your child care service, kindergarten or school was contacted by email by the Department of Health because a report was not received in May 2019, please meet this mandatory reporting requirement by completing the Immunisation Status of a Child Reporting Form (external site) by 31 August 2019. Nil reports must also be made by completing this form.

AIR Statements and existing students

If you do not have AIR Immunisation History Statements for children already enrolled prior to this date, it is not the Department of Health’s expectation that these are collected. However, all children who are ‘not up to date’ or where vaccination status is unknown, must be reported.

At other times

The Chief Health Officer, or their delegate, may request reports of the immunisation status of children enrolled at other specified times. For example, during the outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.

For more information, refer to the WA Immunisation Requirements – Guidelines for persons in charge of child care services, community kindergartens and schools (PDF 2.2MB).

More information

Immunisation, Surveillance and Disease Control Program

8.30am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday
Phone: 9222 2486
Email: immunisation@health.wa.gov.au

Last reviewed: 12-12-2018
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Public Health