Early childhood immunisation discussion paper released

South Australians can have their say on protecting children against vaccine-preventable diseases with a discussion paper released for public consultation today.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said this is the next step in strengthening state-based laws that aim to improve childhood immunisation rates.

“The State Government is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all South Australian children and is striving to achieve the highest childhood immunisation rates possible, leading the nation,” Minister Wade said.

“The discussion paper proposes that children need to be appropriately immunised, on an immunisation catch-up program or be exempt for medical reasons, in order to enrol or attend early childhood care services.

“Immunisation coverage in South Australia is good but, in most areas, falls short of the 95 per cent target.

“For most vaccine-preventable diseases, immunisation not only protects vaccinated individuals but also others in our community by increasing the level of herd immunity.

“We are seeking community and stakeholder feedback on ways we can further strengthen protection of children against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

The first phase of the new Early Childhood Services and Immunisation (also known as No Jab, No Play) laws were recently passed, which aim to improve the ability to prevent and control outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases in early childhood services.

Minister Wade said the laws require parents or guardians to provide immunisation records to early childhood centres.

“The laws also give the Chief Public Health Officer the power to access immunisation records and exclude a child from the centre in the event of a disease outbreak,” Minister Wade said.

“We are continuing to consult on even tougher measures to improve overall vaccination rates. We will look to draw on the experience of interstate legislation as well as community and stakeholder feedback to ensure we get our laws right.”

The Early Childhood Services and Immunisation Discussion Paper will be released for four weeks for consultation and can be viewed at yoursay.sa.gov.au/immunisation.

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