While working with children, early childhood educators have an increased risk of contracting a range of vaccine-preventable diseases through their daily interactions with children.
Educators also may pass on contagious diseases to children who are either too young to have had all their immunizations or who cannot be vaccinated due to individual circumstances.
Although it isn't compulsory, in order to protect yourself and the children within the service, it's important to keep your vaccinations up to date.
For Educators working with children, there is a range of vaccinations available that prevent diseases and include:
- hepatitis A
- measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) (persons born during or since 1966 who have only received one dose of the MMR vaccine should have a second dose)
- chickenpox (if not previously infected)
- pertussis (whooping cough) (an adult booster dose)
- influenza (annual vaccination)
Vaccinations for Educators is not compulsory and management are not permitted to apply pressure for you to get vaccinated. it's important for you to understand the risks involved for being unvaccinated.
If you refuse to vaccinate or cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons, when an outbreak occurs at the service, preventable measures must be put in place to protect you from infection.
- appropriate work placement and adjustment (e.g. consider placing workers who have received the adult pertussis booster to care for the youngest infants)
- review of work practices to ensure safe systems of work for infection prevention and control
- additional information, instruction, training and supervision
- personal protective equipment
In the event of an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease, it may be necessary for management to implement work exclusions, restrictions or adjustments to protect non-immune Educators and prevent further spread of the disease.
As an Educator, it's important to consider how you can manage to prevent yourself from contracting diseases as well as spreading it to vulnerable children.
"Vaccinations for early childhood staff", CareForKids, 14 August 2018