Labor slam state government's opposition of vax law

SHADOW Health Minister Walt Secord has urged the Berejiklian Government to reverse its opposition to tough vaccination laws before Parliament in light of an outbreak of whooping cough.

Mr Secord said the massive spike in the number of whooping cough (Pertussis) cases on the North Coast - 79 cases in April - was a frightening trend.

Statewide, there were 383 cases in NSW in April 2017 - but a fifth of all cases were on the North Coast.

In the last week alone, there have been 37 confirmed cases on the North Coast - double the previous week, Mr Secord said.

Yesterday, the State Berejiklian Government said it was opposing Labor's tough laws - which banned the creation of so-called vaccination-free child care centres and tough penalties for principals or operators who enrolled unvaccinated children in their centres.

Mr Secord called on the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to reverse his opposition to Public Health Amendment (Vaccination of Children Attending Child Care Facilities) Bill 2017, which is currently at the debate stage.

Yesterday, the Government formally indicated that it was voting against the laws.

However, the State Greens announced that they would be supporting Labor's legislation.

This week, the Northern NSW Local Health District confirmed that there had been 79 cases in April 2017 compared to 77 in April 2016; eight in April 2015; three in April 2014 and four cases in April 2013.

Mr Secord said vaccination rates on the North Coast had slipped to dangerously low levels and we were seeing the spread of preventable diseases like whooping cough.

Mr Secord urged parents to immunise their children and to ignore the anti-vaccination movement. The whooping cough vaccination is free to all babies and pregnant women during their third trimester to give optimal protection to newborns.

"Anyone who has seen images of babies with whooping cough struggling to breathe would immediately vaccinate their children," Mr Secord said.

"Immunisation rates on the North Coast are slipping to dangerous levels - but the Liberals and Nationals are opposing the tough laws simply because they were proposed by Labor.

"That is irresponsible and unfair to the whole community.

"The State Government should stop its petty opposition.

"They have a responsibility to the community to protect our most vulnerable.

"We have the unusual situation where the Greens are supporting tough vaccination laws, but the Liberals and Nationals are not."


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