Poll shows No Jab No Play popular with parents

Published on Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Last updated on Wednesday, 14 October 2020

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Close to 75 per cent of Australian parents believe they should be told how many children are not up-to-date with their vaccines in their child's school, kindergarten or child care centre according to a recent poll.

In addition, seven out of ten parents said knowing the percentage of under-vaccinated children in a service would influence their decision to send their child to that facility.

The Royal Children's Hospital of Melbourne surveyed a group of 1945 parents on their 3492 children, aged between one month and 18 years for the 6th Australian Child Health Poll, and learned that nearly three quarters of parents across Australia support the 'No Jab, No Play' policy and believe children who are not up-to-date with vaccines should be refused access to child care or kindergarten.

This poll also found that the vast majority of Australian parents support childhood vaccination and keep their children's vaccines up-to-date, however, many 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.

In addition, despite extensive medical research showing no causal link, one in ten Australian parents still believe that vaccines can cause autism, and a further 30 per cent are unsure.

Director of the Child Health Poll, paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes said the poll served as an important reminder that while most parents follow the National Immunisation Program for their children, the level of vaccine-related concern and misconceptions among parents is significant.

"While the vast majority of parents vaccinate their children, we found that almost a third of Australian parents have some concerns about vaccination.

"All vaccines currently available in Australia must pass stringent testing before being approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), and yet one in ten parents said they were unsure whether vaccines were safe for their children, and one in six believe they contain ingredients that can cause serious harm such as mercury.

Since the year 2000, vaccines available on the National Immunisation Program have not contained the mercury-containing preservative thiomersal," Dr Rhodes added.

She said ongoing education and communication to tackle parents' concerns is vital to ensure high levels of vaccination among families.

"We also know that the majority of parents have poor knowledge about when vaccines may need to be delayed, so this poll highlights the need to encourage them to see their health care provider for advice before assuming their child can't be vaccinated when they've got a runny nose or are on antibiotics," Dr Rhodes said. View the detailed report here.

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