UNVACCINATED high school students could soon be banned from class during outbreaks following a crackdown on anti vaxxers.
NSW Health will also make it tougher for parents to claim conscientious objection for childcare and parents of high school students compelled to provide details of their child’s vaccination status, reports Daily Telegraph.
Public health officers have the power to exclude unvaccinated children from childcare care and primary school during outbreaks of diseases like measles but this will be expanded to high schools.
Unvaccinated children will also be banned from childcare and school for up to two weeks if they come into contact with a child suffering a vaccine-preventable disease — even if they aren’t sick themselves.
Anti-vaxxers will also find it harder to claim “conscientious objection” to vaccination when enrolling their child in daycare.
NSW Health Director Communicable Diseases Dr Vicky Sheppeard said the objection was not being scrapped for fear of “exacerbating the disadvantage some of those children may have”.
There are also concerns it would lead to a rise in rogue childcare centres catering only to unvaccinated children which AMA NSW President Brad Frankum labelled as “dangerous”.
“That’s always the danger with prohibition that you drive people underground and having a whole preschool unvaccinated is a highly dangerous situation,” he said.
Prof Frankum backed the exclusion of unvaccinated children but raised concerns anti-vaxxers would lie about their child being in contact with a sick peer.
“I see compliance problems with it but in theory we should do everything we can to protect as many kids as we can from vaccine preventable disease,” he said.
NSW Secondary Principal’s Council President Chris Presland criticised the school plans for dumping parent’s responsibilities onto schools.
“So many things keep getting lumbered onto schools because parents can’t or won’t deal with things,” he said.
He said schools would unfairly “bear the brunt of parent’s frustration” if an unvaccinated child was excluded.
This follows a Child Death Review that looked at a total of 54 children who died from vaccine preventable diseases in NSW from 2015 to 2014. The report found almost half of the deaths were avoidable had the children been fully vaccinated against the diseases in question.
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