From our Department of Education team:
Dear parents and carers
The return to school and face-to-face learning for 2022 has been a fantastic milestone for children, families, and schools across Victoria.
The Department of Education and Training has worked closely with the Department of Health to ensure schools are as safe as possible, providing air purifiers for improved classroom ventilation and supporting vital COVIDSafe steps, including regular rapid antigen testing, mask wearing and physical distancing.
Aspergers Victoria is joining the call to encourage as many families as possible to vaccinate children aged 5 to 11.
Even though COVID-19 is mild in most children, vaccination is important to prevent longer term complications and serious illness that can still occur for some children.
Helping your child get vaccinated is an important step we can all take to give children direct protection against COVID-19 and even more so for children with underlying health conditions.
Bookings for children aged 5 to 11 to receive their Pfizer vaccine are now open and, as of 9 February, just over 50 per cent of 5- to 11-year-olds have been vaccinated.
This is a great start, and we want to see as many of our primary school students as possible achieve the protection that vaccination offers.
Along with improved individual protection, high rates of vaccination mean there is less chance of school closures – meaning less disruption to face-to-face learning and more time for children to be with their friends. This is particularly important as we move into Autumn and the Winter months.
How it works
Vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 are delivered at two appointments, usually 8 weeks apart. For children with disability and pre-existing underlying health conditions, they may be able to get their second dose after 3 weeks so that these children can be fully protected sooner.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has advised that this includes children with:
- · Down syndrome
- · Cerebral palsy
- · Muscular Dystrophy
- · Severe disability that requires frequent assistance with daily living, which includes some autistic children and children with rare genetic disorders
- · Heart disease and chronic lung disease, including those regularly hospitalised for asthma
- · Cancer and survivors of childhood cancer
Parents and carers can determine if their child is medically at risk and book a second dose if their child requires full protection sooner.
For further information please review the full list of disability and medical conditions.
Children aged 5 years and over who are severely immunocompromised can also receive three primary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. This third dose can be provided 2 to 6 months after the second dose.
To book an appointment
You can book an appointment now for your children at a doctor’s clinic or any pharmacy on the Australian Government’s Clinic Finder website, visit healthdirect.gov.au).
You can also book at a family-friendly vaccination centre by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 or by booking online: https://portal.cvms.vic.gov.au/
Appointments are also available at Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations.
Support for students with disability or special requirements
There is extra support for students with disability and specialist requirements to access COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Victorian Government is supporting people with disability to access COVID-19 vaccinations through the Disability Liaison Officers (DLO). The Disability Liaison Officers provide free specialised support to children and adults across Victoria with a disability or special requirements, as well as their families and carers.
They can help you with:
· Longer appointments
· Strategies for needle phobia
· Bookings at low sensory and disability accessible centres
· Vaccination at home
You can contact a Disability Liaison Officer by:
The Victorian Government’s coronavirus.vic.gov.au website also has information about COVID-19 vaccines in many community languages.