Australian Government to Ban Unvaccinated Kids From Preschool

“No Jab, No Play”

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is serious about
vaccines; so much so that he wants to ban unvaccinated children
from attending preschools and daycare centers across the
country. This “no jab, no play” proposal is part of the
Australian government’s efforts to raise the number of children
that have received standard childhood inoculations from 93
percent to 95 percent.

The standard childhood vaccines include those
for measles, mumps, and rubella — known collectively as
the MMR vaccine. Not only does the vaccine help prevent
school-age children from falling ill, it also protects
infants who are too young to be inoculated, or
those unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Reaching a 93 percent rate of children with standard
vaccinations is no small feat for any country, and something
that Australia has already achieved. In order to get that
number even higher, the government committed to other measures:
for example, as of January 2016, families with unvaccinated
children no longer qualified to receive childcare subsidies.

There are already several parts of the country — such as
Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland — where a version of
this new policy is already in place. In fact, Turnbull’s
concept is a based on a policy that’s already been
implemented in Victoria. That policy — which may be among the
country’s strictest — requires all children to be fully
immunized, exempting only those that cannot for a medical
reason such as an allergy. In other states and
territories, any children who aren’t vaccinated only have to be
kept home from preschool if there’s an infectious disease


Vaccines Save Lives

Some find the proposed policy harsh, or even unnecessary.
Others are worried it could backfire. Julie Leask, from the
University of Sydney, thinks that preventive measures would
only embolden anti-vaccine parents. “People without any
previous interest in vaccination may defend anti-vaccination
activists and join their cause because they are concerned about
the threat to civil liberties,” she warned.

Nesha Hutchinson of the childhood education advocacy group
Australian Childcare Alliance, fears that such a policy
would result in the kids of anti-vaccine parents not being
able to access early childhood education. Still, she is
convinced that a nationwide policy like the one being proposed
could conceivably raise immunization rates.

The World Health Organization (WHO)
estimated that smallpox killed around 2 million people
worldwide in 1967.

Higher immunization rates means more people are protected
from infectious diseases — many of which can be fatal.
Case in point: smallpox used to be deadly. This
highly contagious virus was one of the deadliest
diseases ever to befall humanity, killing more than 300 million
people in the 20th century alone. The World Health Organization
(WHO) estimated that smallpox killed around 2
million people worldwide in 1967
. It’s believed to have
first affected human populations as far back as
10,000 BCE
, meaning we may never truly know its total
death toll.

That being said, because of the vaccine, no one dies from
smallpox anymore. The last naturally occurring case was
reported in 1977, and by 1980 the WHO declared smallpox
eradicated — in large part due to a global
immunization campaign led by the organization.

Of course smallpox is just one of a
number of infectious diseases
 that plague the
world. But its story is proof of what an effective immunization program can
do: it can, and does, save lives.

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Australian Government to Ban Unvaccinated Kids From Preschool

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