If children need Influenza protection, then why not Childcare Workers?

Kids deserving- why not the staff?

Last week the Queensland State Government announced an initiative set to reduce child hospital admissions. Childcare is often at the coalface of childhood illnesses, but is this initiative where the buck should stop in Childcare Centres?

Article from the Gold Coast Bulletin:

AFTER a horror flu season, the Palaszczuk Government will provide free influenza vaccines for children between six months and five years old from next year.

“Of all the vaccine-preventable diseases, influenza causes the most hospital admissions of children under five years old,” Mr Dick said.

One of the greatest motivators for establishing VirtueVax was seeing the number of Childcare workers present as patients without currency for either Whooping Cough, or annual Influenza immunisations. It’s understandable that preventative health measures are often low on the list of to-dos for these staff, who are certainly not among the higher paid of Educators in the country.

So whose duty of care?

The current National Early Learning Centre Guidelines do acknowledge that a duty of care does exist to minimise the risk of vaccine preventable diseases in Early Learning Centres. If children are seen to be at such risk and the Government supports this with taxpayer dollars, then why not have the same agenda met from Early Learning Centres also, starting with their staff? Why is the onus on the staff to ‘maybe’ get their vaccinations themselves? Who is holding them accountable when the Guidelines are just that – guidelines?

The spread of illness in Childcare Centres is a two-way street.

Children are always in physical contact with their Educators. They are equally as likely to catch a contagious illness from their Educator as they are to their fellow drooling counterparts, especially in the younger rooms. Sure, staff may know how to cover their sneezes better, but how can we ever be sure exactly who spread the bug?

If parents are required to provide conjunctivitis clearance certificates (and spend time and Medicare money chasing these), then perhaps it is only fair that parents ask the same basic health protocols be upheld internally, starting with staff? Influenza admits children to hospital. Conjunctivitis? -rarely ever. Where are the priorities in upholding such Guidelines?

Childcare Staff deserve and need to be protected!

VirtueVax strongly advocates for appropriate apportion of duty of care. It is possibly only a matter of time that the Guidelines will be amended to place greater emphasis on Early Learning Centres to prove their staff are current for Influenza and at the very least, Whooping Cough (Pertussis). Will greater emphasis mean mandatory?? Time will tell.

VirtueVax passionately implores Early Learning Centre Directors and Owners to consider the future of Guidelines and health agenda in their Centres. The VirtueVax team is committed to assisting Early Learning and Childcare Centres in obtaining above average achievement in this Guideline criteria. We also want to educate staff of the importance of why, not just ‘because the Guidelines say so’.

Please visit the website to make contact enquiry and have your staff protected to the highest Guideline criteria. www.virtuevax.com.au/contact/

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