Child care and vaccination

Child care and vaccination

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The single Child Care Subsidy may have replaced the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate, but something that hasn’t changed under the New Child Care Package is the ‘no jab, no pay’ policy. 

To be eligible for the Child Care Subsidy or Additional Child Care Subsidy, your youngster must meet the Government’s immunisation requirements. 

Here we look at what this means in practice and outline recent changes to the National Immunisation Program.  

What are the immunisation requirements for the Child Care Subsidy?

To meet the Government’s requirements and be eligible for child care assistance, all of your children aged under 20 must:

Broadly speaking, your child needs to be vaccinated to receive the subsidy, however, there is no need to tell the Government when they’re vaccinated. The Government checks the AIR using your child’s Medicare details, and if your youngster was vaccinated overseas, simply provide the evidence of this to your Australian medical practitioner and they’ll update the AIR for you. 

In terms of timing, if your child stops meeting the immunisation requirements for some reason, then you have 63 days to start meeting them again before your subsidy stops. 

There are also repercussions when it comes to the Family Tax Benefit Part A, and the Government may reduce these payments by up to $28.28 per child, per fortnight if your child doesn’t meet the immunisation requirements. 

What immunisations do young children need, and when?

Under the National Immunisation Program schedule, here are the vaccines applicable for infants and preschoolers:

Age Vaccines
Birth
  • An injection for hepatitis B. Usually offered in hospital, this vaccine must be given within 7 days and is of greatest benefit if given in their first 24 hours.
2 months (vaccines can be given from 6-weeks-old)
  • A combined injection for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio and Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • An injection for pneumococcal
  • Oral drops for rotavirus (6 to 14 weeks of age)
4 months
  • A combined injection for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio and Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • An injection for pneumococcal
  • Oral drops for rotavirus (10 to 24 weeks of age)
6 months
  • A combined injection for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio and Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b)
12 months
  • An injection for meningococcal ACWY
  • A combined injection for measles, mumps and rubella
  • An injection for pneumococcal
18 months
  • An injection for Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • A combined injection for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox)
  • A combined injection for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough)
4 years
  • A combined injection for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio

What have been some recent changes to the National Immunisation Program schedule?

The schedule covers specific vaccine brands, and there are additional immunisations (including flu vaccines) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and ‘medically at-risk children’. Click here for that information, and also keep in mind that there are immunisation schedules for each State and Territory, meaning that additional government-funded vaccines may be applicable in your area. 

As of 1 July 2018, there have been four main changes to the schedule

Namely:

  • The meningococcal ACWY vaccine has been introduced
  • There has been a change in the timing for the infant pneumococcal vaccine
  • There has been a change in the timing for the Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine
  • A whooping cough vaccine has been added for pregnant women

Exclusion policies

As mentioned above, when a vaccine preventable disease breaks out children who are not vaccinated due to medical reasons, may be asked to stay at home for their own protection and also to avoid the possibility of them infecting other children.

To ensure exclusion policies are adhered to, child care centres ask all parents to provide a copy of their child's vaccination history on enrolment. The exclusion rule also applies to child care centre staff who haven't been vaccinated.

Exclusion policies can be frustrating for working parents who rely on child care. Read our article on Sick Days and Emergency Care for some ideas on how to find child care if your little one is excluded from their child care centre.

Most child care centres have exclusion policies for illnesses which can't be vaccinated against as well. Remember that the policies are in place to protect your child and the rest of your family and you should make every effort to stick to the rules.

In summary, it pays to have your child immunised – both in terms of their health and your family’s eligibility for child care assistance. 

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 02 September 2019

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