- Phase one of the 'No Jab No Play' policy introduced from January 1, 2019 to require childcare services, kindergartens and schools to strengthen immunisation records and enhance the powers of the Chief Health Officer during a disease outbreak
- Phase two, the Government to introduce a Bill that will prohibit the enrolment of an under-vaccinated child from childcare and kindergartens
- Immunisation coverage of children to improve through targeted support and referral pathways in phase three
New regulations under the Public Health Act 2016 will require childcare services, kindergartens and schools in Western Australia to collect and, on request by the Chief Health Officer, report on the immunisation status of all students from January 1, 2019.
The information collected will be used to provide support and referral pathways to families to ensure their children are protected against vaccine preventable diseases.
It will also enable the Department of Health to identify under-vaccinated children and if necessary exclude them during a period when there is a disease outbreak.
Under the new regulations the person in charge of a childcare service, kindergarten or school can be fined $1,000 if they permit a child to attend the facility in contravention of a direction from the Chief Health Officer.
To implement phase two of 'No Jab No Play', the McGowan Government will introduce a Bill to State Parliament to amend the Public Health Act 2016 (WA) and the School Education Act 1999 (WA). This will allow the Chief Health Officer to exclude children who are not fully vaccinated from enrolling in childcare services and kindergarten (non-compulsory early education and care).
New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have already introduced similar laws, and South Australia is planning to proceed in the near future.
It is anticipated phase two of No Jab No Play will be effective as of July 2019 for children entering childcare services, and in 2020 for children commencing kindergarten.
In 2017, the State's immunisation coverage was lower than the national average for one, two and five-year-olds, with two-year-olds in WA recording the lowest immunisation coverage of 89.1 per cent. 95 per cent of children must be fully immunised to effectively prevent outbreaks of highly infectious diseases such as measles.
Known as herd immunity, the 95 per cent immunisation rate is important to protect others in our community including those who are too young to be vaccinated, pregnant women, children with immune disorders and some cancer patients, for whom these diseases can be extremely serious.
Children are already required to be fully vaccinated for parents to be eligible to receive family assistance payments through the Commonwealth No Jab No Pay policy.
The WA childhood immunisation program is provided free through the National Immunisation Program and protects children from 16 vaccine preventable diseases. For more information, visit http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Healthy-living/Immunisation
Parents can check their child's immunisation history on the Medicare Australia website.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"In Australia, we are lucky to have an immunisation program which protects children from 16 vaccine preventable diseases, yet we are still seeing children who are not fully immunised, putting other children and the broader community at risk.
"These changes will allow the Department of Health to readily access immunisation-related data and to support families to ensure their children are up to date with their vaccinations.
"This is a common sense change to public health regulation, and will result in reducing preventable disease in Western Australia."
Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
"These measures will increase childhood vaccination rates to ensure the safety of WA schoolchildren. WA currently lags behind other States in Australia in rates of immunisations for young children.
"In 2017, WA recorded the lowest immunisations coverage for two-year-olds of 89.1 per cent.
"The No Jab No Play policy will ensure vaccination rates for our youngest and most vulnerable children are lifted."
Comments attributed to Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:
"Most families using childcare are already familiar with the requirement to have their children's vaccinations up to date, mainly due to the Federal Government's 'No Jab No Pay' program.
"The Department of Communities will work with childcare providers to ensure they are aware of the changes which will commence on January 1. This is a positive step in improving the health and wellbeing of young children.
"It is important that we work together across health, education and childcare centres to ensure immunisation rates are increased to a level which ensures children are safe from vaccine preventable diseases."
Health Minister's office - 6552 6500
Education and Training Minister's office - 6552 5700
Community Services Minister's office - 6552 6600