Qld plans opt-in child vaccination laws

QUEENSLAND children who have not been immunised may soon be turned away from day care facilities under legislative changes flagged by the state’s health minister.

IN late 2014, about 92 per cent of Queensland five-year-olds were fully immunised.

But the target is 95 per cent, Health Minister Cameron Dick says. The self-declared “big supporter” of immunisation is seeking to strengthen state laws in the same way that federal childcare benefits are linked to immunisation. “It’s really about empowering the community,” Mr Dick told ABC Radio on Thursday. “It’s about providing protection, not just to children, but to (childcare) staff and to parents and the broader community as well.” Mr Dick said anti-immunisation groups were partly to blame for the state’s vaccination rates. “Can I just say the science is very clear on this,” Mr Dick said. “Vaccination does not cause things like autism or allergies or asthma. It doesn’t weaken children’s immune systems. “Any reactions to vaccinations are generally mild and temporary.” The state government will consult with childcare and health groups to determine whether to prescribe vaccinations as part of the plan. Mr Dick hoped it would form a trigger for parents who might not have the right information. “It’s as much about education and triggering a response as it is a very hard line, because we’ve got to bring people forward together,” he said. Labor will consider conscientious objection as part of the process. “I think we need to look at that and get advice on what does that exactly mean,” Mr Dick said. “Is it a personal preference or is it based on some religious belief? “I think we need to look at that carefully rather than have a hard rule initially.”