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Professor Jonathan Carapetis, director of Telethon Institute for Child Health Research has backed calls for new laws in Western Australia (WA) that would ban unvaccinated children from childcare centres.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) of WA recently asked the Barnett Government to consider introducing 'no jab, no play' laws, amid concerns over the state's falling immunisation rates, however the proposal was ruled out by Health Minister Kim Hames, who said the Government was already doing enough to protect children.
Professor Carapetis has urged Dr Hames to reconsider, 'I'm on the committee that advises the WA Health Department on immunisation and I applaud (his) immunisation strategic plan. The Government is without a doubt being very active in this area, they are doing a lot (but) I think this additional strategy is worth considering and I'd certainly urge him to have another look at it.'
Australian Child Immunisation Register data shows WA has the worst vaccination record in the nation for young children. Under the AMA plan, unvaccinated children would not be allowed into childcare unless their parents registered as conscientious objectors and presented paperwork, signed by a doctor, justifying their position. The medical body believes most parents who fail to have their children vaccinated simply forget or are complacent.
Professor Carapetis, who is also a paediatrician, said data showed 80 per cent of children in WA who were not fully immunised were in that position because their parents simply forgot. 'What this move is trying to do is to still give people the choice of not getting their kids immunised, but they have to actively make that choice,' he said.
Professor Carapetis is a consultant for the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.
Source: Perth Now