Experts agree No Jab No Play was key to our ‘ herd immunity’
AUSTRALIA is now effectively safe from deadly diseases polio, measles and rubella — thanks to The Sunday Telegraph’s No Jab vaccination campaigns.
Australia has surpassed the gold standard of a 95 per cent vaccination rate, known as “herd immunity”, according to the National Centre for Immunisation and Research and Surveillance. Australian children at age five are at their highest level of protection against vaccine-preventable disease ever.
While the official rate is 94.5 per cent in the NCIRS 2017 Immunisation Coverage Report released last week, an audit on the accuracy of the Immunisation Register found that 14 per cent of children listed as overdue were actually up to date. Professor Kristine Macartney, director of NCIRS and senior author on the report, said that meant Australia had made it to herd immunity, a state where infectious diseases are unable to take hold because so many of the population is immunised.
“We are essentially at or over 95 per cent when you factor in the under-reporting,” she said.
The Sunday Telegraph’s No Jab No Play campaign, which started in 2013, later became the No Jab No Pay campaign.
Despite criticism of the campaigns, they led to both state and federal governments changing child care enrolment practices and cutting family payments to anti-vaxxers.
“The increases in coverage documented at 12 and 60 months of age are likely to have been contributed to by a range of measures, including the federal government ‘No Jab No Pay’ policy and ‘No Jab No Play’ policies implemented in some states,” the report said. Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone agreed No Jab No Play/Pay had been the antidote to complacency.
PROUD VACCINATION MILESTONE PAGE 86
TODAY we are celebrating our highest level of vaccination ever seen in this country and we are delighted and proud here at The Sunday Telegraph.
Five years ago The Sunday Telegraph embarked on the No Jab No Play campaign aimed at raising falling immunisation rates. Most parents had simply forgotten, or got sidetracked, and a small, noisy bunch were conscientious objectors. Combined, they had driven vaccination rates below 80 per cent in some pockets, which put innocent children, and the compromised, at risk.
So with the wholehearted support of our stablemate The Daily Telegraph we challenged the state government to amend the Public Health Act and tighten up entry into childcare. In 2014 that became the No Jab No Play legislation which was also adopted by other states, who saw the clear benefits.
Then, after another whooping cough death in 2015, the federal government stepped up to the other part of our challenge. Close the conscientious objector loophole and stop taxpayer-funded family payments to people who did not want to vaccinate. If they did not want to be part of the greater community, why should they receive community money for believing in scaremongering nonsense perpetrated by conspiracy theorists? Thanks to the backing of former prime minister Tony Abbott, the No Jab No Pay laws came into effect in 2016.
The rates of immunisation have climbed year on year as a result.
Rates of children fully vaccinated by the age of five years in NSW have climbed from a stagnant 90 per cent in 2012, where they hovered for a decade, to 94.4 per cent in September 2018.
These are the highest vaccination rates ever, even higher than the days when the miraculous polio vaccine was first developed. Back then, parents queued for hours to have their children spared the iron lung.
From the 1990s, there has been growing scepticism about vaccination, based on totally untrue and irresponsible claims that they are linked to rising rates of autism. They are not. Vaccines are safe, effective and the most powerful protection for our children against the diseases that once wiped out whole generations.
So here we are five years later and some of our critics, the ones that said the No Jab reforms would fail, should take note.
Australia has surpassed the gold standard of 95 per cent vaccination rate, according to the latest National Centre for Immunisation and Research and Surveillance.
We know there are lots of hardworking health professionals on the ground ensuring our kids are protected and we are proud to have spurred governments to keep our children safe.