Across the country, recent legislation now prevents non vaccinated children from being enrolled in early childhood care services. A No Jab, No Play policy.
Whilst requirements for full vaccination vary in different states, all of them exclude non-immunised children from child care if there are disease outbreaks. More detailed information about these exclusions can be found at this site.
In response, the AVN (Australian Vaccination-Sceptics Network) held a series of Freedom of Choice rallies in all the major cities to protest such legislation. Anti-vaccinators say they are skeptical about the safety of vaccines – the way vaccines are cultured & the ingredients plus the risk of adverse effects. They remain concerned about the link between the triple antigen vaccine and autism. Parents worried by these issues demand the right of choice in deciding whether or not to vaccinate their children.
“It is indeed a scary thought that Australians are rolling over on issues such as freedom of choice. … don’t for a moment think it will end with vaccinations. It’s just the highly emotive beginning,” writes one member of AVN.
The AVN website provides a comprehensive overview of the pro-choice stance with regard to vaccination.
Pro vaccination people will be cheered by The Australian Government Department of Health guide, (Immunisation Myths & Realities) which states that over 92% of parents do choose to follow the national vaccination program for their children.
But whilst 92% is a good take-up rate, the fear from pro-vaccination groups is the threat to herd immunity from non-vaccinated children. Non-vaccinated children tend to live in enclaves where rates of whooping cough, meningococcal and measles are on the increase. Byron shire, where, in 2016, only 50% of 5 year olds were fully vaccinated, boasts four times higher rates of whooping cough than other areas & some deaths from meningococcal.
Is this a case where the welfare of the many outweighs the freedoms of the few?
Should Australia have a No Jab, No Play policy?
By Helen McLennan