18.4 C
Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

NSW Health misleads preschools over vaccination rules

Latest News

Business calls for Tweed train tracks to be kept ignored

More than 800 people had signed a petition calling for a new rail trail to be built next to, rather than in place of, the existing disused railway line running through the shire.

Other News

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Michael Lyon elected as Byron Mayor

Owing to the resignation of former Mayor at the end of April, a vote was held today to replace Simon Richardson, until the next election

Free mental health workshop for Byron businesses

Business owners in Byron Shire are invited to attend a free 'Healthy Mindset' workshop aimed at providing them with resources and tools to improve mental health and wellbeing, as well as the opportunity to connect with other business owners.

Water outage in Ballina this Thursday

Residents on Crane and Owen Streets in Ballina are advised of a planned water outage this Thursday May 13.

Any questions?

‘This is a great chance for foodies to ask me anything they want’, says local chef Darren Robertson, who...

Cringe worthy PM

Keith Duncan, Pimlico After cringing at the spectacle of Scott Morrison blatantly lying to President Biden during that virtual climate...

From December 31, conscientious objectors to vaccination will no longer be able to enrol their children into preschools. Photo from International Business Times

Paul Bibby

The director of a Brunswick Heads preschool says she was misled by the NSW health department regarding the application of new vaccination rules and that other local directors have been ‘utterly confused and frustrated’ by the changes.

Frances Dyett from Lilly Pilly Preschool is now inviting the parents of unvaccinated children in Brunswick Heads to enrol their kids at her centre before new rules abolishing the so-called ‘conscientious objection’ option come into effect on January 1.

‘I have turned away many upset, angry parents believing I was doing the right thing and complying with the rules and regulations,’ Ms Dyett said.

‘I was initially given misleading information from the health department but was one of the lucky ones who received a call back to say they had given out wrong information.’

On January 1, new rules will come into effect that prevent unvaccinated children from being enrolled in NSW preschools unless their parents can prove they have a specific allergy to the injections.

Prior to this, parents have been able to enrol their unvaccinated children if they were able to register as a ‘conscientious objector’ to vaccination.


Over the past three months, local preschools have been inundated with requests from parents trying to enrol their children for 2019 and beyond in a bid to get in before the January 1 deadline.

However, all but a handful have been rejected by the preschools.

It has now emerged that a number of the preschools were acting on incorrect information from health department officers who were apparently unaware of how the new laws worked.

The preschools were allegedly told that they could enrol unvaccinated children for 2018, but not beyond this.

Ms Dyett says, ‘I was told repeatedly, going back to October, that I could enrol unvaccinated kids for 2018 if their parents registered as conscientious objectors, but not beyond that.’

Conscientious objectors

‘Now I finally have it in writing that I can enrol unvaccinated children for future years.’

The Northern NSW Local Health District confirmed that this was the case to The Echo

‘Children enrolled prior to 31 December 2017 are not subject to this new legislation,’ the director of the health district’s Public Health Unit, Paul Corben, said, referring to the new vaccination rules.

‘However, any enrolment must be consistent with the preschool’s own enrolment practices,’ he said.

Mr Corben did not comment on the allegation that health department staff had previously misled local preschools about the application of the new rules.  

Ms Dyett said the entire process had been ‘incredibly stressful and confusing’.

‘There should have been clearer guidelines, it really needed to be spelt out,’ she said.

‘If all the Shire’s preschool directors have been utterly confused and frustrated by this change, then obviously it has been too murky and grey. One preschool director even had to have lawyers look into it.

‘The fear of fines as well as a black mark have been hanging over us and we all just want to comply with the law and regulations.’

Ms Dyett invited parents from Brunswick Heads wanting to enrol their unvaccinated kids at Lilly Pilly to email her at [email protected]   

She said parents had to enrol before the end of December, have all enrolment forms filled out with a copy of their child’s birth certificate and a completed conscientious objection form. Proof of address was also needed.  

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


    • Why does it disgust you? What are you afraid of? Young children should be allowed to develop their immune system naturally without the toxic crap in vaccines. My kids did and they’re all healthy young adults now

      • The study of disease dissemination and control is epidemiology. Unless you have studied epidemiology at a postgraduate level, you are not qualified to under take any real research in the field. I am not sure what you mean by government propaganda. Health professionals with public health, medical and epidemiological backgrounds in the Commonwealth, the State , NZ, UK National, UK County, other Northern European States, France, the US and other countries with strong public sector governance frameworks, and also in WHO, separately review their relevant national and international epidemiological studies and come up with recommendations for the public. That they come to similar conclusions and recommend vaccination is not co-incidental and could not be as a result of corruption across such a wide range of bodies (epidemiological faculties rarely attract more than tuition fees and normal government funding). This is a straight forward business that the ordinary person should have no need to take any more interest in than what shirt to wear each morning.

  1. Just another Government balls up Just like the immoral added cost on drinks when most areas have no means of retrieving 10 cents on returned bottles Can they get anything right

  2. There is little interest in these new rules in the press outside the Northern Rivers, where most people who have not vaccinated their children have not done so because among the many things any parent has to deal with they have neglected to track their kids vaccination needs and need reminders like the need to vaccinate to enroll at pre-school to ensure their kids are vaccinated. Articles like this reflect the ill-informed minority that deliberately do not vaccinate their kids. I use the word “ill-informed” because they are ignorant of the science of infectious diseases, epidemiology. They protest in the Echo and on Facebook with endless links to anti-vax web sites extolling the risks of vaccination and cases where vaccination causes harm, but they never refer to the epidemiology of the the diseases that we can vaccinate against, because they have no familiarity with epidemiology the science which emerged to study the control of infectious diseases but which now provides us with an evidence-based approach to public health. Epidemiologists study in detail the medical science of these diseases but also the social, environmental, economic and political factors relating to their spread and their prevention. We do not each have to study epidemiology in general nor the epidemiology of any one of these diseases , nor the medical science or pharmacology related to them . State and Commonwealth public health authority professionals , and good GPs too, are well qualified to review the epidemiological literature and the relevant medical science and advise us when to vaccinate. Some anti-vax supporters put forward conspiracy theories around corruption and big-pharma, but when challenged none has any real understanding of the role of epidemiology in public health, the governance of epidemiological research bodies and their funding, the corporate culture and governance and of the public health bodies of Australia and similar countries. One recently made accusations against WHO and ti s role in promoting vaccination, but when challenged it was plain he had never had anything to do with WHO, let alone done any work with it or its its professionals. The anti-vax discussion survives in this post-truth world because it takes place without the anti-vax supporters having any awareness of the relevant discipline, nor of the governance of information in either epidemiological or public health bodies. The only people qualified to provide advice on the advisability of vaccination in a community are experienced qualified epidemiologists. The rest of us can access that advice from our very good public health authorities or if we have any concerns from our GP.

    • Science is never settled. You seem to be someone willing to be open to the latest revelations particularly in the latest scientific/epidemiological findings regarding vaccines. Acquaint yourself of these findings and save yourself further embarrassment.

      • I do not need to acquaint my self with scientific or epidemiological findings on vaccinations – that is exact;y the problem with followers of anti-vax and other medical beliefs. I am an archivist and worked in public sector governance – I do not have the qualifications to follow the latest thinking in epidemiology, and have no need or interest in doings so (I was raised by a medical professional who had no time for hypochondriacs). We have public health authorities staffed by professionals who are much better qualified than I ma and certainly you are to follow the research and make the recommendations. Follow the public authorities advice or take to your GP and find something more interesting in life than worrying obsessively about what you eat, drink and inject.

        • Your reply says it all and splendidly represents the morality, philosophy and intellectual acuity of the pro-vax movement. Good luck with your vaccines. Have a very happy Christmas.

          • Jack O’Rourke I do not care for your commentary. You allude to some deficient morality, philosophy or intellectual acuity but of course are unprepared to say what it is. I have drawn on decades of experience working with bodies like Commonwealth health agencies, and WHO and other international health organisations, and working on Commonwealth governance and contracting of professional expertise (including some of Australia’s most renown epidemiologists). If there is something wrong with using that experience to form a judgement on the validity of the framework that underpins public health advice in ours and scores of other well-governed jurisdictions, than tell us exactly what it is. If not then leave people who do not have decades of experience in epidemiology to follow the advice of our public health professionals.

  3. I must point out that general practitioners have been silenced by the minister for health who has stated that any doctor who does not support the government’s stance on vaccination will be “Hunted” down and dealt with severely. Dr John Piesse was made an example of and consequently there are many doctors who fear the loss of their careers for speaking their minds. So yes, talk about your concerns with your gp and you’ll most probably get a stereotype government approved response. Many of the people who chose not to vaccinate have made this decision because they have experienced vaccine injury, not because they are ill-informed.

    • Neither the State or Commonwealth Minister for Heath has any power to silence GPs that does not agree with the Government’s advice on vaccination, has ever made the statement that you claim, or has any power to treat any GP with severity Dr Pierce’s case was dealt with by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, which acts as professional regulatory body at arms length from Commonwealth Ministerial direction on individual practitioner cases.

      It is quite likely your GP will advise you in similar terms to the the advice to public health authorities. Why would anyone expect a GP to contradict experienced professionals in our health departments, and those in scores of similar countries, who have the time and resources to review the epidemiological and medical science literature on vaccination.

      People who choose not to vaccinate against the advice of their GP are not doing so because they have experienced “vaccine injury” ; they do so because they are not capable of making sound judgements on who is best placed to advise them on the subject. This should not surprise us in world where the are people put their faith in people like Hanson who have no time for learning and decry expert opinion.

  4. The research referred to by those opposed to vaccination basically concludes that it is not 100% safe. So what? No drug, no medicine, no surgery, no treatment, no activity is 100% safe. Have a read of the product information in a box of panadol to see the ‘possible’ side effects. The indisputable fact is that the vast majority of children and adults who are vaccinated suffer no ill effects whatsoever. Like all the aforementioned examples, we as individuals, and as members of a community / society/ nation, must objectively weigh up the risks with the benefits. The evidence has been gathered worldwide, by tens of thousands of scientists and doctors. The benefits of vaccination for a whole population far outweigh all adverse effects for individuals. No one is being forced to immunize their children. But neither should their decision expose another baby to a deadly illness before his or her parents can exercise the option to immunize.

  5. If this was in part of Asia or other parts of the world. It would not even be a talking point. I have seen many of adults and kids die or have disabled lives due to vaccinatable diseases in other countries.

    We forget in our little Island of Australia that “So Far” have been lucky enough not to have a pandemic yet that effects our children (Well since modern history). Perhaps due to part because of the low population, strict immigration controls, isolation geographically, antibiotics/good hospitals (Which are at high risk of soon failing) and the rest of the world still vaccinating in the war against disease. We are safe “so far”.

    If the world stopped vaccinating or vectors of infection increase (Climate change, population increase, war, civil unrest, poverty etc). All our children would be in peril. Australian Anti Vaxers are like climate deniers. We can not see the good of vaccines here, so disease is not an issue. Until it is here and it is too late.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Resilient communities training on offer

‘Resilience’ has become a buzzword in Australia over the past few years, as communities across the country struggle to cope with fire, floods, and a pandemic.

Independent councillor fact-checks housing supply in the Byron Shire

Independent Byron Shire Councillor Cate Coorey won approval from fellow councillors last week for a new reporting regime she says will offer clarification on dwellings approved in the shire.

How to exercise more voting rights in council elections

Being a property owner in NSW isn’t just a financial advantage, it also means you have more rights to vote than non-property owners.

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the October long weekend -  Friday,...