By MAMAMIA TEAM
The controversial ‘no jab, no play’ legislation has been passed through the NSW cabinet.
Parents in NSW have been told that they must vaccinate their children – or register for an exemption – if they want to enroll in childcare. After much deliberation, the changes to the Public Health Act were passed through cabinet yesterday evening.
To get an exemption, parents will have to fill out forms with their doctor, explaining their personal, philosophical or religious reasons for abstaining. While this legislation will not force anti-vaxers to immunise their children, the legislation will serve as a reminder to parents who have merely forgotten to make sure that their child is fully vaccinated for their age group, or on a recogised catch-up schedule.
Brian Owler, the president of the NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association, released a statement this afternoon in which he said, “This is a sensible move that is in line with the experts’ recommendations on the matter.”
He argued that, “Making it mandatory for parents and guardians to supply childcare facilities and schools with documentation about their children’s immunisation status will increase vaccination rates.”
Why was this legislation put forward in the first place?
This is what Mamamia reported when the legislation was first introduced.
Across Australia, more than 77,000 children are not fully immunised.
Let’s pause for a moment and let that sink in – that’s a Collingwood versus Carlton sized football stadium crowd of kids.
And this is the exact reason that NSW Labor leader John Robertson will today introduce legislation to parliament to ban unvaccinated children from preschools and child care centres.
According to Mr Robertson, some parts of NSW have lower vaccination rates than Rwanda.
The ‘no jab, no play’ legislation is being introduced to encourage parents to vaccinate their children against dangerous ailments such as whooping cough and measles.
According to Opposition health spokesman Andrew McDonald, the current rates of immunisation are so worryingly low in NSW, that an epidemic outbreak of these diseases is almost inevitable.
A perfect example of this risk was seen in August last year, when there were more than 40 reported cases of measles in Sydney’s south west in one week.
McDonald continued, “This is about preventing deaths in young children … unless we change we will have a whole cohort of children who are not fully immunised.”
Mr Robertson said that not all parents who haven’t vaccinated their children are ‘anti-vaccinators’ – some are merely ‘non-vaccinators’.
He told reporters, “Many parents simply forget to immunise their children… What this proposal will do is allow childcare centres to remind those parents, and at the same time give them the opportunity to refuse access to any child that’s not immunised if they choose to do so.”