Teachers

Introduction

In 2011, a NZ Parliamentary Health [Select] Committee report recommended that NZ adopt a coercive vaccination policy that could have disadvantaged children in terms of their access to education based on their vaccination status,

Fortunately. in 2012 the NZ government decided against instituting a coercive vaccination policy. (Details of this part of NZ’s vaccination history may be read at this link: http://www.noforcedvaccines.org/teachers/how-nz-teachers-could-have-been-affected-if-nz-had-adopted-a-coercive-vaccination-policy/ )

Early Childhood and School Teachers Duties in Relation to Vaccination

Today in NZ, teachers (and school support staff) have some specific duties in relation to recording children’s vaccination records.

There is a legal obligation for schools and early childhood services to ask parents to supply a copy of their children’s  vaccination records when a child is enrolled in  a school or early childhood education (ECE) centre.  (In NZ, any vaccinations a child has had are usually recorded on a document known as an “Immunisation Certificate” .)

When a child’s parents  supply a copy of the “Immunisation Certificate” (or other documentation showing which vaccine(s) a child has been given) this information is recorded in the ECE centre or school’s “Immunisation Register”.

If a child  does not have an “Immunisation Certificate”  (or other documentation proving that he or she has been vaccinated) a child can still be enrolled at a centre or school.

A child can also be enrolled if the “Immunisation Certificate” (or other documentation) shows that he or she has had some, but not all vaccinations.

However, a child who has not been vaccinated against a specific illness may be asked to stay home if there is a case of that illness in the centre or school. (Please see the section “Information Relating to Control of Infectious Diseases” (below) for more information.)

Vaccination and Teachers

Some schools and early childhood teachers offer free influenza vaccinations to staff, including teachers.  However, teachers who do not want to be vaccinated have the right to decline.

A teacher who was not vaccinated in childhood (and missed out on having  a  childhood infection, for example, measles, and therefore has no antibodies to this virus (or another communicable viral or bacterial illness for which there is a vaccine) may be asked to stay at home if they may be infectious due to contact with a child who has developed the illness. (Please see the section “Information Relating to Control of Infectious Diseases”  (below) for more information.)

Information Relating to Control of Infectious Diseases in Schools

Under the Health (Infectious and Notifiable Diseases) Regulations 1966, Section 14 covers “Exclusion from school of patients and contacts”.  Quoting from this document:

“Every child and every school teacher who is suffering from, or is suspected to be suffering from, an infectious disease specified in Schedule 2 shall be excluded from school for the period of isolation shown in the second column of that schedule with respect to that disease or for such lesser period as the Medical Officer of Health shall determine.”

Reference: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/1966/0087/latest/DLM24238.html

Schedule 2, which outlines periods of exclusion for teachers and pupils who have been “exposed to an infectious disease” may be seen below.

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/1966/0087/latest/DLM24271.html#DLM24271

You can see in Schedule 2 that for measles the maximum exclusion period is 14 days because this is the incubation period for the disease.

The Health (Infectious and Notifiable Diseases) Regulations 1966 do provide for Medical Officers of Health to use their discretion and reduce the time of exclusion based on individual circumstances. (To give a theoretical example, if a week had elapsed between the diagnosis of measles in a school student and that student’s contact with other their classmates, then the exclusion period for the classmates could be reduced to seven days – because usually if someone who is not immune to measles is exposed to the virus measles they would be expected to develop symptoms of the illness within 14 days.)

The link below discusses exclusion of both pupils and teachers from a school.

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/1966/0087/latest/DLM24238.html

Website editor’s note:

Please note that this information in this section of the website has been compiled by a non-lawyer. If you need legal advice please contact a lawyer.  (For teachers who are union members, there may be an option of obtaining support including legal advice, if necessary, via their union.)

There is a contact form at this link for people who would like to contact No Forced Vaccines at this link: http://www.noforcedvaccines.org/contact/

 

 

 

 

 

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