LABOR TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO BAN MOVES TO SET UP ANTI-VAXXER CHILD CARE IN NSW

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The legislation - Public Health Amendment (Vaccination of Children Attending Childcare Facilities) Bill 2017- was announced by NSW Labor leader Luke Foley, NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord and Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education Kate Washington.

As part of the legislation, the Opposition will remove the so-called “conscientious objector clause”.  However, it will retain the specialist provision for children who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition such as a specialised cancer treatment. 

The overview of the Bill states: “The object of this Bill is to amend the Public Health Act 2010 to prevent unvaccinated children being enrolled at child care facilities, if the only reason that they are unvaccinated is a parent’s conscientious beliefs”.

Mr Foley said this was a sensible approach as it separated the anti-vaxxers from children who were undergoing cancer treatment.

Mr Foley said there have been recent reports of patients reporting to NSW hospitals with vaccine preventable diseases like tetanus, and there have been recent outbreaks of whooping cough and measles.

It also follows a report earlier this month of a northern beaches mother wanting to set up a “vaccine-free day care” and in September 2015, a Lismore mother wanting to set up a similar venture. They both were calling for expressions of interest to sidestep current laws requiring children to be vaccinated in child care centres.

The northern beaches mother said she wanted to open her home to three to four children, who were not vaccinated to sidestep the law.

Labor’s legislation will also cover family day care operations.

NSW Labor supported Federal Government measures like “No jab, no play”.

Vaccination rates in Northern NSW and in some parts of Sydney’s east and northern beaches have slipped to unacceptably dangerous levels. In 2014-15, Byron (61 per cent), Mullumbimby (46.7 per cent) and Murwillumbah (76 per cent) were at dangerous levels.

In Australia, we need to have a ‘herd’ immunity in the high 90s per cent so that we can provide a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune. 

There are more than 6,000 child care operations in NSW.

Quotes attributable to NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley 

“As the father of three, I am a firm supporter of immunisation.”

“We have to find ways to increase vaccination rates and if it requires plugging loopholes like moves to set up anti-vaccination centres, then we have a responsibility to do so." 

“We need to be encouraging vaccinations not discouraging them. Vaccinations are the only way to protect against serious diseases like polio, mumps, whooping cough, meningococcal, diphtheria and tetanus.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord

“Vaccinations are one of the greatest public health achievements in the 20th Century. 

“Make no mistake, vaccinations have saved millions of lives in the developed and developing world.

“Sadly, some parts of NSW such as Sydney’s east and Sydney’s north and the North Coast have immunisation rate levels well below acceptable levels to provide protection for young children against major disease outbreaks.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Early Childhood Education Minister Kate Washington 

“No one has the right to infect someone’s else child. To fail to vaccinate your child is irresponsible.”

“We make no apologies for taking these tough steps to protect children and the overall community.”