New immunisation laws in force

NEW immunisation laws for children enrolling in NSW childcare centres would provide a higher level of safety, a Tamworth centre director says.

Parents are now required to provide evidence of their child’s vaccination – or an approved exemption after consultation with their immunisation provider – at the time of enrolling their children in childcare.

Poppins Playhouse director Kellie Durant said her centre had always taken a tough stand on immunisation and it was pleasing the government had taken a similar approach.

“Even before the new laws came in, we (were not accepting) children who hadn’t been immunised ... unless there was a letter from a doctor saying a reason why.”

She encouraged parents to immunise children “because there are so many bugs”, although said it was ultimately the parents’ “prerogative”.

Not all parents are happy with the new rules though with one Manilla mum, who wished to remain anonymous, telling The Leader she believes it should be “up to the individual as to how you want to bring your child up”.

After one of her children, who was born prematurely, stopped breathing when given its first needle, she had decided not to bother continuing with an immunisation schedule for the child.

The mum also said that “if Centrelink wasn’t offering money (for immunisation), the immunisation rate wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is”.

Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said the new laws would ensure parents had access to the expert information they needed to make informed decisions.

He said legislative changes early last year ((2013)) had massively strengthened vaccination requirements for children enrolling in childcare.

About 90 per cent of children at 1 and 2 years of age in NSW are fully immunised, but health experts say at least 95 per cent coverage is needed for effective disease control.

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