Western Australia tightens restrictions on unvaccinated children

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-22 14:06:13|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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SYDNEY, July 22 (Xinhua) -- Aussie parents in the state of Western Australia (WA) will no longer be able to enroll their children in preschool or childcare unless they are fully vaccinated under new laws introduced on Monday.

Known as the "No Jab, No Play" policy, the laws aim to improve WA's vaccination rates which are among the lowest in the country.

Similar rules already exist in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

"Vaccination saves lives; it is that simple," WA Health Minister Roger Cook said. "These legislative changes will align WA with other States and assist to reduce the spread of vaccine-preventable disease within the community."

Two-year-olds in WA were recorded as having the lowest immunization coverage in Australia with just 90.2 percent uptake.

An immunization rate of 95 percent is considered necessary to provide "herd" immunity.

Exceptions for the new laws will apply to children with approved medical exemption to a vaccine and the families of under-vaccinated children attending a childcare service will be given support by the State Department of Health.

"Most childcare organizations and families using childcare understand the need to ensure children are vaccinated," WA Community Services Minister Simone McGurk said.

"Importantly, this change includes supports, particularly for vulnerable or disadvantaged families, to bring their children's immunizations up to date."