Early childhood teachers are falling through a vaccination policy gap according to a paper published in the NZ Medical Journal.
It is not widely talked about that people who work with children in early childhood settings are at significant risk of acquiring or transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, for infants under 6 months Pertussis (whooping cough) is the greatest risk for them. Staff need to aware of this and the importance of getting a booster every 10 years.
It is proposed that just as children on enrolment are asked to provide an immunisation record, something similar could also be asked of staff. No child is excluded from enrolment if not vaccinated against any disease. No staff should be excluded either. Our proposal to include staff is aimed at supporting both child and staff health, by helping to raise awareness and giving staff the opportunity to consider their vaccination status.
A document has been drafted (see the copy below) gives background information and includes a copy of the proposed Immunisation and Vaccination Record form for ECE teaching staff with guidance for its use.
The idea for this approach to raise awareness was discussed at an ECAC (early childhood advisory meeting).
We are most grateful to the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) for their opinion and clinical input.
We will inform you of updates as this proposal progresses.