The latest Australian Child Health Poll found that the vast majority of Australian parents support vaccination and keep their children’s vaccines up-to-date. Almost one in three parents still hold some concerns about vaccination, mostly relating to vaccine safety.
Director of the Australian Child Health Poll, paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes said that while in the United States a clinician’s right to refuse care to an unvaccinated child has been a topic for some time, this poll suggests a worrying pattern of practice not previously identified in Australia.
“This concerning finding represents the parent perspective and further research is required on this issue to understand which health care providers are refusing care to these children and in what context.
“All children, regardless of their vaccination status, have an equal right to health care,” Dr Rhodes said.
This poll also found that a clear majority of Australian parents indicate support for strong policies to help get kids up-to-date on vaccines and preserve immunity in the community.
“While some medical professionals will argue that unvaccinated children can present a risk to other patients, we must remember that children aren’t making these choices about vaccination for themselves. By turning them away, health care providers not only deny health care to a child, but remove the possibility of educating parents and helping them to eventually choose to vaccinate,” Dr Rhodes added.
Among children whose parents reported them as not being up-to-date with their vaccines, children under six were most likely to be refused care by a health care provider (25 per cent), followed by 21 per cent of primary school-aged children and five per cent of teenagers.
The latest Australian Child Health Poll also found:
- The vast majority of Australian parents support childhood vaccination and keep their children’s vaccines up-to-date.
- 74 per cent of parents believe they should be informed about the number of children not up-to-date with vaccines in their child’s school, kindergarten or child care centre.
- Seven out of ten parents said that knowing the percentage of under-vaccinated children in a school or centre would influence their decision to send their child to that facility.
- Nearly three quarters of parents across Australia support a ‘No Jab, No Play’ policy, believing children who are not up-to-date with vaccines should be refused access to child care or kindergarten.
- Many Australian parents are confused about whether to delay vaccines when a child has a minor illness with nearly half (47 per cent) incorrectly saying vaccination should be delayed in a well child on antibiotics, and one in five (22 per cent) in a child who has had a local reaction to a previous vaccine, such as swelling or redness.
- Despite extensive medical research showing no causal link, one in ten Australian parents believe that vaccines can cause autism, and a further 30 per cent are unsure.
Poll questions coming soon.
In the meantime, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the news
Sydney Morning Herald
The West Australian
BBC World News
ABC News Breakfast
ABC Radio National
Information for parents
- Raising Children Network – Immunisation in childhood
- Raising Children Network – Immunisation FAQ’s
- Better Health – Facts and misconceptions
- Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre
- Immunise Australia Program
- Australian Immunisation Register
- ACT Health
- NSW Health
- NT Government
- Queensland Health
- Healthy WA
- SA Health
- Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria
- Department of Health and Human Service, Tasmania
- Australian Government – No Jab, No Pay
- Victorian Government – No Jab, No Play
- NSW Health – Childcare requirements
- Queensland Health – Childcare requirement