Changes to Rules around Immunisation in Australia

The Government has been moving towards making vaccination mandatory across the Nation, introducing the No Jab No Pay, and No Jab No Play policies, to encourage parents to immunise their children

No Jab No Play legislation has been implemented with some variation between states. In Victoria and New South Wales, the policy states that a child who has not been vaccinated and is not currently participating in a catch-up program or objecting on medical grounds can be denied enrolment in a child care centre. The remaining states have a slightly more flexible policy, with decisions around enrolment for non-vaccinated children being left to the discretion of individual centres. All states share the policy that children can be removed from the centre should an outbreak occur.

Parents who have chosen not to immunise on medical grounds have been given an exemption up until now. However, the NSW Government is currently seeking to abolish the right to conscientiously object to vaccination. This will mean that for enrolment in NSW childcare, it will be mandatory for children to have been immunised.

No Jab No Pay Policy – Immunisation Requirements

The Australian Government is extending the immunisation requirements for Child Care Benefit (CCB), Child Care Rebate (CCR) and the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A end of year supplement.

From 1 January 2016, families with children who are not immunised (and do not have an approved exemption) will not receive the FTB Part A end of year supplement and child care subsidies.

Being Informed

Putting aside the range of personal feelings parents have around vaccination, the fact remains that the outcome of these policies will greatly impact families. For working parents, being denied access to child care centres as well as child care rebates will impact on their ability to work. For other families, the news may be a relief. Parents who made the decision to immunise their children, particularly where the child has been sensitive, are keen to know that their child will now be safe from those diseases and the immunisations have been worth it. With such large proportion of the community attending child care now, the risks of exposure to these diseases can be drastically reduced if mandatory immunisation is introduced.

While immunisation doesn’t guarantee 100% protection from illnesses and some children have been known to contract them regardless, the severity and duration of the illness are believed to be greatly reduced.

If immunisation is an issue that concerns you, it helps to be aware of what is happening in the wider community and on a legislative level. In this way, you can make plans that best suit your family.

The Personal Health Record (Blue Book), a GP Letter and/or an overseas vaccination record must not be accepted as evidence of a child’s immunisation status.  Parents/guardians can log onto the Medicare online services website and print a copy of the ACIR Immunisation History Statement or relevant form that needs to be completed by their doctor/ immunisation nurse.

If you would like to learn more about immunisation requirements and schedules, or for information about enrolment in one of our early learning centres, contact ToBeMe today.

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