COVID-19: Anticipating Mandatory Vaccinations

At the time of writing this article, early childhood education and care services across New South Wales are anxiously anticipating the release of the new NSW Public Health Order which will fully detail the requirements of comprehensive mandatory vaccinations (ie 2 doses). It is also believed that these mandatory vaccinations will be imposed on other industry sectors too.

 

The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW was able to collect survey data from a sample of over 2,789 educators, teachers and support staff. And on prima facie evidence, the information suggests:

 

  • Of those working directly with children:
    • 10.13% believe they cannot get or will not be able to get their two appointments by 8 November 2021; and
    • 4.15% believe they have a valid medical reason(s) but their health practitioner(s) will not issue the required temporary exemption.
  • Of those not working directly with children:
    • 19.49% believe they cannot get or will not be able to get their two appointments by 8 November 2021; and
    • 7.63% believe they have a valid medical reason(s) but their health practitioner(s) will not issue the required temporary exemption.

It should be noted that ACA NSW believes the above are sufficiently differentiated to those who choose not to be vaccinated.

 

The above survey data can be best visualised by the following two maps:

 

Although ACA NSW supports the Early Childhood Education and Care sector as a priority group for vaccinations (subject to individuals seeking their own medical advice), ACA NSW is extremely concerned that:

 

  1. there is insufficient guarantee of supply and prioritisation of vaccination (especially Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) for educators, teachers, staff and Approved Providers before 8 November 2021;
  2. there will be educators, teachers and Approved Providers who will no longer be able to work in their chosen profession;
  3. there will be a loss of between 2,200 to 3,300 educators/teachers across NSW such that all recruitment will still not be sufficient, especially given the underlying severe labour shortages; and
  4. there will be a capacity loss of between 22,000 to 33,000 places across NSW to the disadvantage of (possibly up to 99,000) children, their parents/guardians and their families.

ACA NSW has been communicating specifically to the NSW Government's crisis cabinet as well as the NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning regarding the sector's concerns. However, no solutions have yet been forthcoming from them at this time.

 

In the meantime, ACA NSW invites those who have yet to provide their input on this issue to do so via the form below.

 

Create your own user feedback survey

 

And should members require any further information/clarification, please contact the ACA NSW team on 1300 556 330 or nsw@childcarealliance.org.au. 

 

PUBLISHED: 21 SEPTEMBER 2021

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