Australia has announced plans to ban all unvaccinated children from attending school, in harsh new rules introduced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball.
Turnball says that parents need to vaccinate their children or suffer the humiliation of being excluded from the education system.
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Under the new law, unvaccinated children from nursery preschool and childcare centers will be excluded from attending. The was prompted by a recent scandal in which a one-month-old baby died from whooping cough, which some experts claimed happened as a result of the child attending a childcare center where unvaccinated babies were present.
Sky News reports:
Mr Turnbull said: “This is not a theoretical exercise – this is life and death.
“If a parent says, ‘I’m not going to vaccinate my child,’ they’re not simply putting their child at risk, they’re putting everybody else’s children at risk, too.”
The “no jab no play” proposal would mean any child who is not vaccinated would not be allowed to attend childcare or preschool unless they had a medical condition that stopped them being immunised.
Currently 93% of children are vaccinated in Australia but Mr Turnbull wants to increase this to at least 95%.
The prime minister has written to state and community leaders asking them to support a nationwide policy and more consistent laws.
He said: “The level of public support for vaccination is so strong, I’m confident we will get a concerted national response.
“We protect all Australian children by ensuring that kids are vaccinated.”
The plan is supported by opposition leader Bill Shorten, who applauded the prime minister’s stance against anti-vaccination groups but also called for more to be done in educating people.
“I think we need to start educating parents as opposed to some of the crazier views they can read about on the internet,” he said.
The ban would be an extension of the Government’s policy of withholding the benefits payments to parents who don’t get their children vaccinated.
In the UK child vaccination is not mandatory but there are high take-up rates of parents getting their children immunised.