The latest Australian Child Health Poll has revealed a worrying pattern of practice in Australian health care, in which some unvaccinated children are being refused care by health care providers.
The poll found that one in six Australian children who are not up-to-date with their vaccines have been refused care by a health care provider.
Director of the Child Health Poll, 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.
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.