Unvaccinated children could be banned from attending childcare centres and preschools across Australia as part of a renewed push by the federal government.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has written to state and territory leaders in a move towards introducing consistent laws to protect children across the country.
“If you don’t vaccinate your child you are not just putting their own life at risk, but you are putting everyone else’s children at risk,” Mr Turnbull wrote.
There are already “no jab, no play” laws implemented in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
Under the national crackdown, childcare centres would also have to make their vaccination rates publicly available, and a loophole allowing parents to formally object will be closed.
The prime minister referenced Sydney mother-of-four Toni McAffrey during a press conference about the policy today.
Ms McAffrey was unaware of a whooping cough outbreak at a daycare her older children attended.
Her four-week-old daughter, Dayna, was infected by the respiratory tract infection and died soon after.
“If all the kids in that childcare centre had been vaccinated her little girl would still be with us,” Mr Turnbull said.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government’s tough policy of withholding family payments to parents of unvaccinated children was being supplemented by an “equally tough” policy of “no jab, no play”.
Only children with official medical exemptions would be able to attend centres without being vaccinated, Mr Hunt said.
“We have a national duty to strive for 100 percent vaccination,” he said.
“We have a 93 percent national vaccination rate, we have a 94.5 percent vaccination rate for those on family benefits and childcare benefit, so it’s a really critical step forward.
“There should be no barrier to any parent adopting this measure.”
Last month, it was revealed more than 140,000 parents had been cut off from receiving childcare payments for failing to vaccinate their children under the “no jab, no pay” policy.
Mr Turnbull’s proposed legislation will be discussed at the next COAG leader’s meeting in June.