Opposition bill to ban un-vaccinated kids from childcare

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk with her 6mo niece Evelyn Rose.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk with her 6mo niece Evelyn Rose. Rae Wilson

CHILDCARE centres could refuse to enrol children not fully immunised under a new policy the Opposition plans to introduce into Queensland Parliament.

Championing a NSW initiative, Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a bill that made sense to protect children from disease.

She said ensuring all children under five years of age were immunised before they went into childcare centres would also help lift immunisation rates in the state.

"We know that if over 95% of children are vaccinated in childcare centres then they are completely covered," she said.

"We don't want our little ones to be exposed to the risks that these diseases can bring about."

Bundamba MP Jo-Anne Miller, who introduced the bill to amend the Public Health Act just after lunch on Thursday, said families with medical reasons for not vaccinating their children would need a medical certificate.

"Our babies, our little ones are precious to all of us," she said.

"We need to protect them all from some of the worst diseases and we really need to look after them.

"Mothers know there's nothing more distressing than when their children have contracted these particular diseases (whooping cough and chicken pox) from other children.

"To watch a child scratching away at chicken pox sores is just really distressing, not only for the child but also the parent.

"In this modern world, vaccination is the only way to go for children unless there is a specific medical reason not to do so."

Although the bill was read and sent to the health committee for consideration, the LNP seemed unlikely to lend much support.

There was laughing from the LNP in the legislative chamber during the bill's first reading.

Earlier, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg told media his government had already been looking how to lift immunisation rates across Queensland and would not be drawn on whether the childcare centre ban had merit.

Mr Springborg said Queensland had one of the highest immunisation rates in Australia at 91-92% but he wanted to make sure that figure kept growing.

"Immunisation is a very effective way of dealing with some of the worst diseases which affect our community," he said.

Peregian Beach mum Liv Gray said she had not immunised her children because she had heard too many unsettling first-hand tales about resulting health problems.

She said also she believed her children should make their own decisions about what went into their bodies when they were old enough to do so.

"People we were meeting were stating their child had been hospitalised or was now ill for whatever degree because of immunisation or after they had been immunised," she said.

"We felt there were options to do that later on when their immune systems needed it, not when they were tiny."

Ms Gray said excluding children from childcare centres would not protect children, it just took choices away.

"I don't think a ban like that ensures anything," she said.

"I think both children are still at risk whether immunised or not.

"I think that personal choice, whether that be the individual childcare centre or the family, they need to be the one to make that active decision and not have it taken away from them."

Ms Gray said in the past she would simply sign a conscientious objection form and bring in paperwork from a naturopath which would satisfy childcare centres.

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