Australia Calls for National Childcare Ban on Unvaccinated Children
On March 12, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called for a national ban that would prohibit childcare centers from admitting unvaccinated children. Dubbed “No Jab No Play,” Turnbull’s proposal comes amid what the Prime Minister sees as concerning developments in national health.
Based on a survey of 2,000 parents administered by the Australian Child Health Poll, five percent of children nationwide are unvaccinated, said BBC News. Furthermore, ABC News Australia said that some medical centers have denied one-sixth of these unvaccinated children medical treatment due to their status.
Once such a ban comes into effect, Turnbull’s next phase in this national health policy would be to implement another law that would make vaccination compulsory for children. To execute his plan, the prime minister will collaborate with local and state governments to establish the new policy in every region of the country. Currently, only three Australian states, Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria, have a local mandatory vaccination policy if parents want to send their children to daycare centers.
“I am calling on the states and territories to support a concerted national policy so that children who are not vaccinated cannot attend childcare or preschool centres,” said Turnbull in a statement to reporters.
Medical experts fear that unvaccinated children may spread illnesses in childcare centers and other public places, compromising the health of those present. Turnbull hopes that by enacting these pro-vaccination laws, the government can suppress the spread of preventable diseases and preserve public health.
The prime minister’s policy, however, faces resistance. Australian politician Pauline Hanson denounced Turnbull’s legislation as a “dictatorship,” according to ABC News Australia. Hanson perceives the proposed law as government interference with parents’ decisionmaking. She encouraged families to conduct their own research and decide for themselves whether to vaccinate their children or not.
Another source of concern pertains to public opinion regarding vaccination. The Australian Child Health Poll results also indicated that although 95 percent of Australian children are inoculated 33 percent of Australian parents have concerns regarding side-effects of vaccines. Furthermore, ten percent of Australian parents in the survey believed that vaccination could cause autism in children. Although medical professionals deny any strong relationship between vaccines and autism, public belief in such ideas could spawn strong resistance to Prime Minister Turnbull’s reforms.
Turnbull is expected to convene the Council of Australian Governments in late March to outline his plans and mobilize support. Despite the potentiality for some public resistance to this new controversial policy, the fact that three Australian states have already instituted similar laws gives hope to Turnbull’s prospects of success. The key process in this legislation would be to apply what is already occurring at the provincial level and applying it on a macrocosmic level to the entire country. As such, this new vaccination policy marks the beginning of a new trend in the national health policy of Australia.