PARENTS are being urged to ensure their children are fully immunised before beginning the coming school term.
Minister for health and acting minister for families and children Jill Hennessy is reminding parents of the state government’s ‘no jab, no play’ law.
The law requires all children enrolling in early childhood and care services to be up to date with their immunisations, unless they have an approved exemption.
“The science is crystal clear. Vaccinations save lives. Immunisation keeps our kids safe and protected against deadly diseases,” Ms Hennessy said.
Since introducing the law, Victoria has achieved its best ever immunisation coverage, with 94.9 per cent of Victorian children aged five now fully immunised – the second highest coverage rate in Australia. Before no jab, no play, the coverage was just 92.5 per cent.
Due to the law and efforts by parents, Victoria has almost reached the 95 per cent ‘herd immunity’ target, which is necessary to halt the spread of dangerous and virulent diseases such as measles.
The government is looking to further strengthen the no jab, no play law to crack down on practitioners who make false statements about a child’s ability to be immunised.
“We’re cracking down on rogue practitioners who put the health and safety of children at risk with their lies. There is just simply no excuse not to immunise your child – conscientious objection is not a valid exemption,” Ms Hennessy said.
Under the changes, only immunisation history statements from the Australian Immunisation Register will be accepted when enrolling in childcare or kindergarten. Documents produced by GPs or other immunisation providers will no longer be accepted as proof of immunisation for enrolment. And by having only one form of evidence accepted, the process of enrolling will be much simpler for both parents and early childhood services.
“Our kinders are leading the way in helping to immunise our kids. More Victorian children than ever are now protected against preventable and serious life-threatening diseases like measles,” Ms Hennessy said.
To receive reminders of when your child’s immunisation status is due, download the VaxOnTime app from betterhealth.vic.gov.au/immunisation.