Illawarra preschools are standing against a proposed bill that would ban unvaccinated children from attending childcare centres.

Amendments to the Public Health Act 2010 will be introduced by Health Minister Jillian Skinner next week, giving centres the right to refuse unvaccinated children.

Keiraville Community Preschool Director Margaret Gleeson told the Illawarra Mercury that she is concerned about the level of discrimination being aimed at the children who have no say.

“Families usually make an informed decision if they are conscientious objectors based on what they consider the best interest of their child,” she said.

“I don’t feel that the situation in Australia with immunisation, where we have fairly high rates, warrants discriminating against a child who has no influence in the decision being made about them.”

Some carers believe the bill could be beneficial for the centres themselves but have expressed concern over the wellbeing of the children.

Charise Ovard from Play in Paradise Premium Family Daycare told the Illawarra Mercury that while the legislation could make their jobs easier it has the potential to segregate children.

“I would support that if it was made law, it would make our jobs easier and the spread of viruses would be reduced as well,” she said.

“So many children still get brought to childcare when they are sick – one cough can rip through a centre in one day and have a significant impact on families. I think individuals have a responsibility to the community.

“If you’ve got 10 services who exclude and one that doesn’t, will that mean a higher proportion of non-immunised children than you would normally see?”

Words: JULIAN KEITH

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