Parents who don’t believe in vaccinating their children would no longer be able to take them to childcare or kindergarten in Victoria under proposed reforms.
The state government is introducing legislation that would require children to be fully vaccinated before such attendance is allowed. The proposed law would close a loophole that makes an exemption for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children on the grounds they are conscientious objectors.
Children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will remain exempt.
“What we don’t accept is those who go around myth-making about the risks of vaccination,” the Victorian health minister, Jill Hennessy, said on Sunday. “The public health and wellbeing of the broader community has to take precedence against the anti-vaccination movement.”
Children not vaccinated against illnesses such as measles and whooping cough put other children and the greater community at risk, many health experts say. Despite a vaccination rate of 92 per cent for whooping cough in Victoria, the number of reported cases has increased by more than 1000 since the previous year.
“Ultimately, it is a parent’s call in terms of how they respond, but we cannot continue to see the alarming rise in diseases like whooping cough and measles and not respond,” Hennessy said.
She said she is confident the “no jab, no play” policy will provide an incentive for parents to make sure their children are vaccinated.Do you have an idea for a story?
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