CEO Julia Davison said the decision, a sector first, would require Goodstart employees across Australia to be fully vaccinated by November 29, in every state and territory. First vaccinations will be required by the end of October. Vaccination is already mandatory for the early childhood sector in New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory.
Over 70,000 children attend Goodstart’s 670 centres located in every state and territory, supported by 15,000 educators, teachers, cooks, cleaners, maintenance workers and centre directors.
“With children unable to be vaccinated, the best way to keep children safe is to vaccinate the adults around them,” Ms Davison said.
“At Goodstart safety is a priority and this is an important part of keeping all Goodstarters safe.
“We know that as vaccination rates rise, COVID becomes a pandemic of the unvaccinated particularly young children, as no vaccines have been approved for them.
“While most children are at low risk of serious infection, we should do everything we can to keep that risk as low as possible.
“Goodstart’s award-winning COVID-safe plan for our centres has ensured we do everything we can to keep children, families and educators as safe as possible, but the spread of the Delta variant is challenging.
“In states like NSW and Victoria where Delta has taken such a toll, we’ve seen centre closures increase significantly.
“Expert advice from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute makes it very clear that the only reasonable step is to ensure every adult who works in our centres is vaccinated.
“We hope that other leaders will follow the Premiers of NSW and Victoria and the Norther Territory Chief Officer who have moved to protect lives by mandating vaccination for the early learning and care sector.
“Today I have written to the State and Territory leaders who are yet to mandate vaccination for the early learning sector urging them to do so quickly,” she said.
Ms Davison said with supply increasing, and the national plan to re-open Australia not far off, it had become urgent for all early learning centres to vaccinate staff.
In early July Goodstart launched a campaign to urge its employees and the families of children who attend our centres to get vaccinated as soon as possible, recognising that some employees have legitimate medical reasons for not being vaccinated.