Doctors call to stop funding schools that don't promote vaccination after measles scare.

The Australian Medical Association has suggested stripping funding from schools that do not actively promote vaccinating students amidst a potential measles outbreak.

The West Australian government issued a citywide health alert last week when an unvaccinated high school student returned to Perth from Italy, where he contracted measles.

About 200 of the 400 students at the Steiner school Perth Waldorf have not been vaccinated.

More cases were expected with nine out of 10 susceptible persons in close contact with a measles patient likely to develop it, Department of Health Director of Communicable Diseases Dr Paul Armstrong said.

The school in Bibra Lake has not responded to a Department of Health offer to “bring the jabs to them” through free clinics.

AMA WA president Omar Khorshid questioned whether government funding should be given to schools that do not take responsibility for health outcomes and provide free vaccinations for children.

Measles is highly infectious, 40 per cent of cases require hospitalisation and it was responsible for thousands of deaths around the world, but it “should not be seen in the Western world” anymore, Dr Khorshid said.

Naturally occurring measles has not been present in WA for 20 years.

“The money schools get from the government is not untied,” he told 6PR radio.

Most required outcomes were educational but there were also health outcomes like providing vaccinations, he said.


Steiner schools do not promote vaccination by providing government clinics, instead leaving decisions to parents, which has led to criticism by medical professionals.

Perth Waldorf did not respond to questions including whether it collects students’ vaccination records.

Dr Khorshid said: “Schools have got a responsibility like we all do in the community to look after not just individuals but the community as a whole.”

“Vaccinations have been an incredible success story for us, we can’t rest on our laurels.”

There’s been a measles outbreak in Italy this year, where the Perth student visited, with a rising numbers of sceptical parents who don’t immunise despite it being being mandatory .

Vaccinations are mandatory in Australia under “no job, no pay” laws, which block parents who opt out from receiving various child care payments.

Given the student attended school while infected, the department has ordered that all unvaccinated students be blocked from turning up until there was no longer a measles risk.