Unvaccinated clusters the ‘perfect storm’ for outbreaks

THE Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters group has made a submission to the Federal Government's inquiry into the No Jab No Pay bill, describing the dense clusters of unvaccinated children locally as a "perfect storm" for deadly disease outbreaks.

The group says a common concern among members is the extremely low vaccination rates in the region that puts their children at risk.

They cite Mullumbimby as a perfect example, which has the lowest vaccine rates nationally with fewer than 50% of five-year-olds being fully vaccinated.

"Where children congregate in close proximity with one another, there is a high risk of contagious disease," the submission states.

"Babies too young to be vaccinated, those with medical conditions excluding them from being vaccinated themselves, and people with immune-suppression rely on the community being vaccinated to prevent disease outbreaks.

"If a high proportion of the community are unvaccinated, as is the case on the Northern Rivers, herd immunity is compromised and this can form a 'chink in the armour' allowing outbreaks of otherwise preventable disease to take hold."

The group argues that parents would still have a choice to refuse vaccination for their children, but the legislation simply removes the government subsidy that supports unvaccinated children attending childcare.

They say this would protect the vulnerable children who have no choice and cannot be vaccinated.

In September the Senate referred the No Jab, No Pay Bill to the Senate Community Affairs Committee for inquiry and report.

To date, close to 2500 submissions have been received.

It's understood the majority of submissions have been in opposition to the policy.

The No Jab, No Pay policy would require children to fully meet immunisation requirements before their families can access child care benefits, child care rebates, or the family tax benefit.

Exceptions to the policy would apply only for valid medical reasons.