Skip links and keyboard navigation

Vaccination legislation for ECEC services

Under the Public Health Act 2005, approved early childhood education and care services (ECEC services) can refuse the enrolment or attendance of children who are not up-to-date with their scheduled vaccinations.

This only applies to ECEC services approved under the Education and Care Services National Law (Queensland) or the Queensland Education and Care Services Act 2013. Unregulated services are not covered.

This legislation does not make immunisation mandatory, and does not force your service to refuse enrolment or attendance of children whose immunisation status is not up-to-date.

The course of action is at the discretion of your service. However, there are certain steps you must take to ensure that you are legally protected when refusing a child's enrolment or attendance based on their immunisation status.

A snapshot

Your service can choose to ask parents to provide an:

  • immunisation history statement when enrolling their child
  • updated immunisation history statement when their child passes the 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 months and 4 years vaccination milestones.

The immunisation history statement will show if a child's immunisation status is up-to-date. If the child is not up-to-date, your service can choose to:

  • refuse enrolment of the child
  • cancel enrolment or refuse attendance of the child
  • impose a condition on the child's enrolment or attendance.

Your service may wish to establish a policy on the enrolment and attendance of children whose:

  • immunisation status is not up-to-date with the immunisation schedule, or
  • parents who do not provide an immunisation history statement.

New enrolments

For children who are new enrolments, your service can ask parents to provide an immunisation history statement that shows the child's immunisation status as up-to-date.

Your service can choose to:

  • refuse enrolment of children whose immunisation status is not up-to-date
  • accept enrolment but refuse attendance of children until proof of up-to-date immunisation status is provided, or
  • conditionally accept enrolment or attendance until proof of up-to-date immunisation status is provided.

To be legally protected, your service must:

  • request the parent provide an immunisation history statement showing that their child's immunisation status is up-to-date
  • on making the request, inform the parent of the potential consequences for their child's enrolment or attendance, if their immunisation status is not up-to-date
  • provide a reasonable timeframe for the parent to provide the immunisation history statement.

It is up to your service to decide the 'reasonable timeframe' for providing the immunisation history statement when enrolling a child.

If the parent does not provide an immunisation history statement by the requested time, your service can:

  • refuse enrolment or attendance
  • impose another condition consistent with your service's policy regarding immunisation.

Existing enrolments

For children who are already enrolled, your service can ask parents for an updated immunisation history statement after the child passes the 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 months and 4 years vaccination milestones.

In this instance, your service must give parents at least 4 weeks to provide a current immunisation history statement.

If the parent does not provide an immunisation history statement by the requested time, your service can:

  • cancel enrolment of children whose immunisation status is not up to date
  • refuse attendance of children until proof of up to date immunisation status is provided,
    or
  • impose another condition on the child's enrolment or attendance until proof of up to date immunisation status is provided.

To be legally protected, your service must:

  • be satisfied that the child has passed one of the vaccination milestones under the National Immunisation Program Schedule Queensland
  • request the parent provide an immunisation history statement showing that their child's immunisation status is up-to-date
  • on making the request, inform the parent of the potential consequences for the child's enrolment or attendance, if their child's immunisation status is not up-to-date
  • give the parent at least 4 weeks to provide the immunisation history statement.

Conditional enrolment or attendance

For children whose immunisation status is unknown or not up-to-date, your service can place a condition on the child's enrolment or attendance, relevant to their immunisation status.

For example, if a parent does not provide proof of an up-to-date immunisation status, your service can advise the parent that until a current immunisation history statement is provided:

  • attendance may be limited for a specific period of time, or
  • attendance may be limited to particular days or sessions.

Enrolled children whose immunisation status is unknown will be considered as not vaccinated.

Vulnerable children

Under the new legislation, your service has the flexibility to allow the enrolment or attendance of vulnerable children whose immunisation status may be unknown or not up-to-date.

The Queensland Government recognises the importance of immunisation and high quality education and care for all children. The legislation is not intended to disadvantage vulnerable children.

Medical contraindication and catch-up schedules

Your service cannot refuse enrolment or attendance of a child on the basis of their immunisation status if they:

  • have a medical contraindication to some or all scheduled vaccines, and/or
  • are on a recognised vaccination catch-up schedule.

While technically not fully vaccinated, these children are still classified as having an up-to-date immunisation status, and this should be indicated on their immunisation history statements.

Homoeopathic treatments

Children who have only had homoeopathic treatments will be shown as not up to date on their immunisation history statements.

Enrolment and attendance of these children is at the discretion of your service.

Conscientious objection

Some parents may not want to have their child vaccinated. Your service has the option to accept or refuse these children if you choose.

If parents have recorded a conscientious objection to vaccination through the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), their child's immunisation status will show as 'not up-to-date'.

The Australian Government has changed legislation regarding immunisation requirements. From 1 January 2016 Conscientious Objection has been removed as a reason for vaccination exemption.

Immunisation history statements

An immunisation history statement must be used as proof that a child's immunisation status is up-to-date or not up-to-date. This statement can be:

The Personal Health Record (the 'red book') from Queensland Health is not acceptable proof of immunisation because it only contains handwritten updates.

More information

Last updated: 23 January 2017

Tax benefits and child care subsidies

The Australian Government has changed legislation regarding the immunisation requirements for tax benefits and child care subsidies. Conscientious objection will be removed as a reason for a vaccination exemption.

These are separate to the changes by the Queensland Government.