No Jab, No Play to improve vaccination rates in WA children

No Jab, No Play to improve vaccination rates in WA children

The McGowan Government’s ‘No Jab, No Play’ policy is effective from today (July 22), meaning any child who is not fully vaccinated can be excluded from being enrolled in childcare services and kindergarten programs (non-compulsory early education and care).

These changes will improve Western Australian vaccination rates to achieve optimal coverage. Children are vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases and are a major source of their transmission.

Exceptions will apply to children with approved medical exemption to a vaccine, or with natural immunity to a specific disease; those on an approved catch-up schedule and those identified as exempt because of particular family circumstances.

In 2018, the State’s immunisation coverage was lower than the national average for one, two and five-year-olds, with two-year-olds in WA recording the lowest immunisation coverage of 90.2 per cent.

New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have already introduced similar laws, and South Australia is planning to proceed in the near future.

An immunisation rate of 95 per cent is considered necessary to provide ‘herd’ immunity to even the most infectious vaccine-preventable diseases in our community, providing protection to those who are too young to be vaccinated, pregnant women, children with immune disorders and some cancer patients, for whom these diseases can be extremely serious.

Vaccines delivered through the WA childhood immunisation program are provided free by the State Government through the National Immunisation Program, protecting children from 16 vaccine-preventable diseases. For more information, visit the HealthyWA website.

Parents can check their child’s immunisation history on the Medicare Australia website.

“Vaccination saves lives; it is that simple,” said Health Minister Roger Cook.

“The McGowan Government is committed to improving the health of all Western Australians.

“These legislative changes will align WA with other States and assist to reduce the spread of vaccine-preventable disease within the community.

“These changes will also allow the Department of Health to help those families who have not fully vaccinated their children, by providing support to do so.”

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said, “WA lags behind other States in Australia in rates of immunisations for young children so these changes will ensure the safety of WA schoolchildren.

“These measures will lift the immunisation rates in WA amongst young children aged five years and under.”

Community Services Minister Simone McGurk said that most childcare organisations and families using childcare understand the need to ensure children are vaccinated.

“This is a matter of public safety and I am pleased the Parliament has passed this important legislation.

“Importantly, this change includes supports, particularly for vulnerable or disadvantaged families, to bring their children’s immunisations up to date.”