South Australian Parliament introduces immunisation bills

South Australian children will need to be immunised before enrolling or attending childhood care services as  the State Parliament introduces new laws today.

Phase one of the  No Jab, No Play laws was designed for the State's chief public health officer to have easier access to immunisation records.

Minister for Health Stephen Wade said the first bill required parents and guardians to provide records to early childhood services and gave the chief public health officer the power to make such a request in the event of an outbreak of a preventable disease.

 "This will provide our public health officers with more support to prevent and contain a dangerous outbreak," Mr Wade said.

"While these measures will help reduce cases of vaccine preventable disease and improve our ability to respond, we are continuing to consult on even tougher measures to improve overall vaccination rates."

The second phase of the No Jab, No Play laws proposes that children must be immunised or on an immunisation catch-up program to be able to enrol and attend any early childhood care services. Exemption can be obtained for medical reasons.

"Over the past few years, other states have passed state-based legislation related to immunisation and childcare enrolment," Mr Wade said. 

"The Government will now go to community consultation on a further South Australian Bill on that aspect.

"Given concerns raised by clinicians about potential detrimental impacts on children, the Government will shortly release a discussion paper which will draw on input received and assessments of the impact of interstate legislation.

"We want to ensure we get our laws right.

Mr Wade said the legislation would save and protect lives.

"Although immunisation coverage in South Australia is good, in most areas it falls short of the 95 per cent target, with coverage between 86 and 95 per cent, and is even lower in some pockets," he said.

"We are committed to protecting children and believe that South Australia should have the best childhood immunisation rates in the nation."