If you’re a parent in Victoria, Australia be prepared for a strict, new vaccination law. As of next year, your child must be fully immunised, or they’ll be barred from going to childcare or kinder.
In the latest crackdown against parents refusing to vaccinate their children, the Victorian government has closed the ‘conscientious objector’ loophole. The government says the expanded ‘no jab, no play’ commitment is aimed squarely at protecting children from ‘serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses’.
The state’s Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, doesn’t mince words when it comes to enforcing the new law, “Vaccinations save lives. It is simply irresponsible for people to ignore the science and choose not to vaccinate their child,” she says.
Legislation is set to be introduced into the Victorian Parliament this year, requiring children be fully immunised in order to attend childcare and kindergarten from January 1, 2016. Only those with a documented, medical reason outlining that they cannot be fully immunised, will be exempt.
This removal of the exemption follows on from the Federal Government’s ‘no jab, no pay’ policy, which links vaccination with eligibility to childcare benefit payments.
The government says to ensure the scheme is effective, with the net cast wide enough to include as many children as possible, it will also include kindergartens, as they are often co-located with childcare centres. New South Wales currently has a similar policy.
Last week, we reported on new Australian research, which revealed infants from poorer backgrounds are the ones at greatest risk of not being fully immunised – not those with parents who are conscientious objectors.
The Victorian Government says it will, “ensure that early childhood services provide families with support and information to access catch-up vaccines if necessary and the required documents to show their child’s immunisations are up-to-date”.