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 just to give staff the opportunity to consider their vaccination status, and assist ECE services to meet their health and safety obligations by showing they have taken reasonable precautions.
We have drafted an Immunisation and Vaccination Record form for ECE teaching staff with guidance for its use.
Would your service like to be among the first to test the form, see how it goes, and let us know? Please contact us.
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.