Government won't ban unvaccinated kids from pre-school
Children who are not up-to-date with their vaccinations will not face a ban from early childhood centres.
Parents who do not vaccinate their children are misguided, but children should not be punished for their parents' decision, Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman told The AM Show on Wednesday.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has proposed a "no jab, no play" policy that would ban unvaccinated children from childcare centres.
"We must give parents the confidence that their children will be safe when they attend childcare and preschool," Mr Turnbull has said.
But it's not a policy that will be considered by the New Zealand Government.
"We're not going to do what they've done in Australia. We don't need to pass a law on this," Dr Coleman said.
Immunisation coverage for eight-month-old children is at 93.3 percent, not far from the government's target of 95 percent of children fully immunised at eight months.
Ministry of Health figures have that number falling to 88.6 percent of children up-to-date with immunisations at the age of five.
"I think people who choose not to vaccinate kids: yup, they have that right, but I think they're misguided, because all the weight of evidence favours vaccinations", Dr Coleman said.
"Vaccination only works if the vast majority of kids are vaccinated."
There will always be a "small hard core of people like the religious community at Gloriavale that aren't going to vaccinate. Actually, their kids should not be punished because of the parents' stance," he said.
Labour Party leader Andrew Little said on Tuesday that the "no jab, no play" policy was worth considering.
"I think we have to make sure that our vaccination programmes are working and are not being compromised by large amounts of children who are not vaccinated", he said.