The Andrews Labor Government is expanding and strengthening its ‘No Jab No Play’ commitment, to ensure more Victorian children are protected from serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Legislation will be introduced into the Parliament this year, to require children to be to be fully vaccinated in order to attend childcare and kindergarten from 1 January 2016.
The Government’s commitment has been expanded to include kindergartens, and to close the conscientious objector exemption.
The only exemption will be for children who have a documented medical reason that they cannot be fully immunised.
The removal of the exemption for conscientious objection recognises that vaccinations save lives, and is supported by extensive scientific evidence and expert medical advice.
Vaccinations provide young children with maximum protection against serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses, and help control and manage public health risks.
The removal of this exemption is in line with changes made by the Federal Government to eligibility for childcare benefit payments.
Many childcare centres are co-located with kindergartens, so to ensure the scheme is as effective as possible and includes as many children as possible, the Government has expanded the policy to include kindergartens. This is similar to how the policy is applied in New South Wales.
Nothing will change for parents of children who are fully immunised. Existing legislation already requires that immunisation status information is provided on enrolment in childcare.
The Government will ensure that early childhood services provide families with support and information to access catch-up vaccines if necessary and the required documents to show their child’s immunisations are up-to-date.
This is the second election commitment delivered by the Labor Government in relation to immunisation. In June, the Government reintroduced the Parents’ Whooping Cough Vaccination Program for pregnant women from 28 weeks gestation and their partners, and all parents and guardians of newborn babies under six months.
For more information on key immunisation dates, visit www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“We’re not only delivering on our election commitment to introduce ‘No Jab No Play’, we’re expanding and strengthening it.”
“The Government wants to ensure as many children as possible are immunised against serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses which can be prevented through vaccination.”
“Vaccinations save lives. It is simply irresponsible for people to ignore the science and choose not to vaccinate their child.”