Early childhood services will be required to collect immunisation records and provide them to the State’s Chief Public Health Officer when requested, under the first of two No Jab, No Play laws which will be introduced to State Parliament today.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the first phase of the No Jab, No Play policy aims to improve the ability to prevent and control outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases in early childhood services.
“Immunisation is one of the most effective strategies to protect children and adults against serious diseases,” Minister Wade said.
“This legislation will save lives and protect lives.
“This Bill requires parents and guardians to provide immunisation records to their child’s early childhood service and gives the Chief Public Health Officer the power to request those records.
“In the event of an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease at an early childhood service, the Bill will allow the Chief Public Health Officer the power to exclude a child from the centre.
“This will provide our public health officers with more support to prevent and contain a dangerous outbreak.
“While these measures will help reduce cases of vaccine preventable disease and improve our ability to respond, we are continuing to consult on even tougher measures to improve overall vaccination rates.”
Under the second phase of No Jab, No Play it is proposed that children must be appropriately immunised, on an immunisation catch-up program or be exempt for medical reasons, in order to enrol or attend early childhood care services.
“Over the past few years, other states have passed state-based legislation related to immunisation and childcare enrolment,” Minister Wade said.
“The Government will now go to community consultation on a further South Australian Bill on that aspect. Given concerns raised by clinicians about potential detrimental impacts on children, the Government will shortly release a discussion paper which will draw on input received and assessments of the impact of interstate legislation. We want to ensure we get our laws right.
“Although immunisation coverage in South Australia is good, in most areas it falls short of the 95 per cent target, with coverage between 86 and 95 per cent, and is even lower in some pockets.
“We are committed to protecting children and believe that South Australia should have the best childhood immunisation rates in the nation.”
Children are already required to be fully vaccinated for parents to be eligible to receive family assistance payments under the Federal No Jab, No Pay policy. Vaccinations are provided free through the National Immunisation Program.