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NSW Health is currently seeing an increase in the number of COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases in ECEC services and is predicting cases to grow over the coming months.

As of the 13th of May, the Public Health Order relating to vaccination of education and care workers has not been extended. This means that Early Childhood Services may choose to implement their own policies around staff vaccination.

As per the current PHO, all Educators are mandatorily required to be fully vaccinated. This will be repealed by the NSW Government on 13 May 2022.  However, there are many workers who either do not wish to take the vaccinations or are unable to, for medical reasons. The cumulative numbers of non-vaccinated Educators have significantly hit the sector which had been dealing with staff shortages even before the pandemic. The following details the impact of the vaccine mandate in the early childhood sector. 

Moderna, the biotech giant, seeks approval for their vaccine against covid-19 for children from 6 months to 6 years old. Moderna has submitted the trial reports and all the necessaries to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Agency (EMA), and other regulators around the world for authorisation.

Children under 5 years in Australia still are not eligible for Covid 19 vaccinations. It is expected that it will come into action much after Easter.

Australian Early Development Census 2021 National Result was recently released. Children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, from disadvantaged households, or from culturally and linguistically diverse families, have shown significant vulnerability in AEDC’s one of two developmental domains. Children who live in socio-economically disadvantaged communities have shown twice vulnerability in one or two domains of AEDC. Children with special needs and disability assistance have increased in 2021 and the figure is 5.2% which was 4.6% in 2018. 

We all know about the common symptoms of COVID 19, which may include a runny nose, fever, and loss of taste and smell. However, the Department of Health of Victoria and NSW are reporting that gastro can also be a symptom of COVID amongst children. 

Updated Pandemic Orders require that, workers in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services will not be permitted to attend an ECEC service if they have not received a third dose by the relevant deadline unless they have a valid medical exception.

Early childhood Services that have had to close or partially close due to COVID-19, including in the absence of stay-at-home orders, can apply for a Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) Special Circumstances grant. The Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) Special Circumstances Grant Opportunity helps services stay open when something unexpected happens.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Education James Merlino today announced a plan to keep education settings open while taking every measure to protect children and Educators – with surveillance testing, ventilation, vaccinations and comprehensive workforce planning to ensure a successful 2022 school year.

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