Whooping cough crisis despite increase in vaccination rates

Parents refusing to vaccinate their children will certainly be feeling the pressure in 2018 as state and federal governments roll out stricter vaccination regulations.
Parents refusing to vaccinate their children will certainly be feeling the pressure in 2018 as state and federal governments roll out stricter vaccination regulations. Greg Miller

PARENTS who refuse to vaccinate their children are starting to feel the pressure as changes to the 'no jab, no pay' and child care regulations are ramped up.

The Federal Government have introduced new laws in parliament to dock welfare payments by $28 a fortnight for parents who's children don't meet immunisation requirements, instead of once a year.

Page MP Kevin Hogan said he supported the changes as they serve as a regular reminder to parents to have their children immunised.

"More than 210,000 families have immunised their children since we first introduced the No Jab No Pay policy," Mr Hogan said.

"The policy has been very successful so far and these changes simply strengthen it."

Lead Clinical Advisor for the North Coast Primary Health Network, Dr Dan Ewald, said in the policies conception he was very sceptical about benefits of the Federal Government's policy.

"For me, I have become more impressed that it is a policy that seems to be working and I think this latest adjustment is a sensible one," Dr Ewald said.

"We have seen a flow through in some improvement in childhood immunisation rates."

Dr Ewald said if it wasn't for the myths and misinformation surrounding vaccinations a lot of families could of been spared from illness.

"We have had loads of children with whooping cough and there would have been a whole lot less if vaccination rates had been higher."

On a similar vein, the NSW State Government announced unvaccinated children will not be allowed to enrol in child care with the 'conscientious object' options in 2018.

The Public Health Amendment (Review) Bill 2017 was passed by parliament on Wednesday night.

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said the new rules will reduce the risk of children contracting potentially deadly diseases such as whooping cough and meningococcal.

"All it takes is one unvaccinated child and dozens of others could be put at risk of serious illness," Mr Hazzard said.

"We are being very clear that choices of conscientious objectors, which are not evidence based, will no longer be allowed to impact other families."

Directors of child care centres who do not comply will face a fine of up to $5500.

The legislation also give public health officers the power to exclude unvaccinated children from secondary schools where there is a disease outbreak.

Children on a recognised catch-up vaccination schedule or those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will still be able to enrol.

Topics:  brad hazzard editors picks kevin hogan north coast primary health network northern rivers health vaccinations

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