Immunisation: Guidelines for early childhood services

In Ireland, the law does not require that children be immunised (vaccinated) in line with the National Immunisation Schedule. This is a parents or guardian’s choice. However, it is highly desirable that children are vaccinated in line with the schedule unless there is a medical reason preventing it. Children who are not vaccinated are dependent on herd immunity to protect against disease.

Childcare facilities have a legal requirement to maintain immunisation records on all children attending. The registered provider must be aware of which children attending the service have been vaccinated and which haven’t. This is important, so that those children who are not vaccinated can be best protected if an infectious disease occurs within the service.

Prior to enrolment parents should be asked for a copy of their child’s immunisation passport or record card. This is contained in the booklet “Your child’s immunisation – A Guide for parents” (see link below). The immunisation passport should continue to be updated in the childcare facility as the child receives his/her immunisations. Parents of children who are not appropriately immunised should be informed of the risk to their children and other children.

Guidelines for an Immunisation Policy for your Early Childhood Service

1. Rationale … Highlight the reason for this policy and the guidance that your policy is underpinned by (e.g. Early Years Regulations 2016)

2. Policy Statement …
State your policy position on immunisation in relation to your service. Highlight if you do/do not accept unimmunised children. Explain your reasons for this or any stipulations.

3. Procedures and Practices …
List your operational procedures:
– The details you require to enrol a child in the early childhood service including immunisation record to date, or if the child has not been immunised, the reasons why (underlying medical condition/parental choice).
– The procedure you follow if there is an infectious outbreak in the early childhood service e.g. notice in writing, temporary withdrawal of vulnerable children.
– The requirement that parents keep the early childhood service up to date with the child’s immunisations.

Signpost or provide parents with to up to date HSE information about immunisation see link below…

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/children/your%20child’s%20immunisation%20a%20guide%20for%20parents.pdf

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