Childcare centres in Queensland may soon be able to turn away children if they have not been vaccinated.
The Queensland health minister, Cameron Dick, said he plans to introduce legislation by the end of the year, granting childcare operators to reject enrolments of children if they aren’t vaccinated.
“Labor will honour its election commitment to introduce legislation that empowers child care services to make decisions on whether to enrol children based on the vaccination status of those children,” he announced.
“The proposed legislation will be designed to protect children and workers from preventable diseases by allowing childcare centres to refuse enrolment to children who are not fully immunised.”
He also stated he would enage in consultation with interested members of the public.
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However, head of the Queensland branch of the Australian Medical Association, Shaun Rudd, said it was unreasonable to bar children from play for their parents’ decions — although he said exceptions could be made in the event of a breakout.
“There is the situation where a virus may be going around, say measles, in that area, then people could be able to look at what kids haven’t been immunised against and say ‘well, sorry, you can’t come along’,” he said.
“I think that is reasonable that you don’t allow kids around when there is an outbreak, but I think not allowing them in just because their parents are against vaccination is a bridge too far.”
The New South Wales government has previously passed a “no jab, no play” law, similar to that proposed in Queensland, and Victoria is also set to introduce “no jab, no play” laws.
The Brisbane Times reports the number of parents who refuse to immunise their children has risen in recent years.
Research released by the federal government last year showed the number of parents lodging conscientious objection forms with the Childhood Immunisation Register had risen to its highest level since 1999.
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