Even though Australia has high vaccination levels, there has been a high volume of measles outbreaks throughout Australia. The main culprits being unvaccinated people, spreading this highly infectious disease.
Services are mandated to keep immunisations records and certificates for all children across the centre with the government also implementing a "no jab no play" policy. However, for early childhood Educators and adults who regularly come into contact with children at the service, the same rules do not apply.
Parents have been growing concerned that services need to be more transparent of the vaccination status of Educators within the centre, especially Educators and Students from foreign countries. Early childhood services are encouraged to be diligent about their staff being vaccinated and ensure Parents are aware of the immunisation status of all Educators as well as prevent the spread of infections by adopting good health and hygiene practices.
To avoid worries and concerns from parents and staff members, and ensure your service is doing what it can to prevent the measles epidemic spreading, here are a few suggested approaches:
- Ensure all staff members are vaccinated – Do an audit to find out if there's anyone (Educators, Students, Volunteers) in your service who isn't immunised against measles. For those who aren't or don't know, provide time off to visit the doctor and confirm their vaccination status or get immunised.
- Put parents and staff at ease – Send out notices confirming all educators and other members of staff are vaccinated against measles, or when this will be rectified if they are not.
- Stop illness spreading – Encourage Children and Educators to cover their mouths when coughing, use tissues when sneezing, wash hands regularly and ensure the premises and all surfaces are cleaned regularly.
- Send Sick Educators and Children home – Ask parents to keep unwell children at home and encourage staff to do the same. The symptoms of measles begin with fevers, coughs, and runny noses so you never know when something resembling a cold could actually be something worse. Educators should also be sent home if they are unwell.
- Handle an outbreak effectively – If there is an incident of measles in your centre inform all parents and staff. It's also important to advise those most at risks, such as pregnant educators, children and staff with low immunity, young babies, and children who have only had one dose of the vaccination, to stay at home.
- Continue to educate and inform – Have posters about measles and vaccinations up in your centre, issue outbreak reports and information in newsletters, and ensure staff know how to spot the signs of measles and understand why prevention is so important.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a 300% increase in cases of worldwide measles epidemic at the beginning of 2019, compared to last year.
Educator Vaccination Status A Growing Concern, Care For Kids, 18 June 2019