Childcare sector examines how to protect workers and families of unvaccinated parents

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“It’s just really hard and there’s no right or wrong,” Ms. Warrilow said.

“It would be great if the government gave very clear direction, but it has not done so for any other sector in terms of a larger stakeholder group, just employees.”

Nowhere in the world has a COVID-19 vaccine approved for young children. Pfizer has completed its trials in children aged 5 to 11 and the government has invited it to submit this data to the Therapeutic Goods Administration for potential approval.

With young children not being eligible for vaccines, health experts say the best way to protect them from the virus is to make sure all adults around them are vaccinated.

Georgie Dent, leader of advocacy group The Parenthood, said it was not unreasonable to recognize that if parents chose not to be vaccinated, it increased the risk to other children and staff in their department. preschool learning.

“In the circumstances where children will not be able to access the vaccine on their own, I think it is appropriate to look at what is possible in this scenario and to explore the limitation of the ability of these children to participate in the services.” early learning if that’s the position their parents take, ”she said.

“I think it’s okay to prioritize the health and safety of early childhood educators and that this be an important consideration in setting guidelines on what is appropriate and what is not. is not.”

Early Childhood Australia chief executive Samantha Page said it would be important with such policies to ensure children are not inadvertently excluded.

“I would hate to think that we were going to exclude some vulnerable children from preschool programs because their parents really did not have access to a vaccination,” she said.

“But as we get closer to high levels of immunization in the community, these kinds of policies become realistic.”

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She warned that more should be done to educate staff and families about the importance of immunization and encourage them to embrace it before embarking on the path of a mandate.

The United Workers Union, which represents child care workers, is “unabashedly pro-vaccination,” but its director of preschool education, Helen Gibbons, said any mandate must be backed by the councils of ‘health experts.

“If they think it is necessary for parents to be vaccinated as well, then we should take note of that,” she said.

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No-jab, no-game, and no-pay policies are based on the National Immunization Program. COVID-19 jabs were not listed in the schedule in part because of the pace of development.

However, there was now a lot of work going on to see whether it would be better to deliver the vaccines through the established schedule rather than tailor-made arrangements, said a high-level government source not authorized to speak in public.

This decision will be up to the government once the country gets past the initial crisis.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, who oversees the federal no-jab, no-pay program, noted that there were no vaccines approved for people under 12 and the government would be guided by an advisory medical.

“The Australian government has always said vaccination is voluntary. There are separate requirements implemented by the state and the territories to encourage vaccinations through public health orders, ”his spokesperson said.

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