In Queensland, 91 per cent of under five-year-olds are fully immunised. (iStockPhoto/saritwuttisan)
Queensland’s biggest childcare operator will not make use of a new power to ban children who are not up-to-date with their vaccinations.
The new power took effect on Friday in a bid by the Queensland Government to improve vaccination rates.
The laws were passed with bipartisan support in October.
It was part of a push by the Queensland Government to improve vaccination rates.
But Creche and Kindergarten (C&K) CEO Michael Tizard said the 143 centres his organisation operates would not be excluding any children.
“It’s not our intention to exclude children that are not vaccinated from early childhood education opportunities,” he said.
“We’re aware that probably the minority of families that are not vaccinating are conscientious objectors.
“We also believe a significant number of unvaccinated children are from families where there might be issues or from disadvantaged communities and we feel excluding children from … early childhood opportunities just further disadvantages them.”
Mr Tizard said the “No jab, no play” campaign was important because it raised awareness in the community about unvaccinated children and the importance of vaccination.
“C&K is very pro-vaccination, so we’re fully supportive of children being vaccinated, and we’re fully supportive of public education programs that educate parents about the importance of vaccinations,” he said.
“For those parents that struggle to get around to it and need additional support we’re also supportive of programs that will assist them to understand the importance of vaccination and get them there and get their children vaccinated.”
Mr Tizard said it had always been their policy and they had strict infection control guidelines in their centres to prevent illness from spreading.
“I know some parents may be concerned that there’s unvaccinated children in a centre but it’s been our policy position,” he said.
“We discussed it with our educators and they’re very children’s-rights-focused and see the importance of a high-quality early childhood education program for children.”
Education Minister Kate Jones said all parents should vaccinate their children.
“I see C&K has not changed its long held position that they encourage parents to immunise their children and they are continuing to talk with parents about the importance of protecting their children,” Ms Jones said in a statement.
“The Palaszczuk Government has set a target of 95 per cent of all children to be fully immunised against preventable diseases, including those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.”
In Queensland, 91 per cent of under five-year-olds are fully immunised.