AS LAWS banning unvaccinated children from child care centres were introduced in NSW Parliament on Wednesday, Health Minister Jillian Skinner warned the controversial North Coast lobby group challenging the changes was under notice.
Since the childhood vaccination laws were flagged for debate, the Bangalow-based Australian Vaccination Network has been urging parents to fight the legislation.
When the bill received unanimous support from the NSW Cabinet this week, AVN continued to peddle its anti-vaccination message, making parents aware of a possible loophole in the legislation which could "protect" their children from the jab.
Referencing a clause in the legislation which allows parents to apply for an exemption on "religious grounds", AVN suggested on its Facebook page that "perhaps they will soon see a huge increase in congregants?"
Answering a question from the floor about what the State Government was doing to stop AVN from spreading dangerous information, Ms Skinner said the Health Care Complaints Commission was "closely monitoring" the organisation's movements.
She said the HCCC was using its newfound power to investigate "the so-called" network and expected a report on her desk in the "near future".
Under the new changes, unvaccinated children will face exclusion from child-care centres and directors who fail to check immunisation history prior to enrolment will face fines.
Ms Skinner said it was time to "forget the scaremongering" and protect the nation's children.
"Anyone who has seen a baby with whooping cough or a toddler with measles as I have or spoken to a parent who has lost a child knows the devastating consequences of failure to vaccinate," Ms Skinner said
"These changes send a very clear message to parents."
The new laws come into effect in January, next year.
More information is available at www.immunisation.health.nsw.gov.au
What you need to know
- Parents or guardians will be required to provide evidence their child is fully vaccinated for age, or is on a recognised catch-up schedule, or has an exemption approved by a GP.
- Those seeking exemptions will be required to fill in forms used by the Commonwealth, which must be completed by a GP (or other approved provider) after counselling.
- Directors of childcare facilities will be required to obtain vaccination evidence or exemption prior to enrolment. Failure to comply will be an offence subject to a fine.
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