Queensland’s government is fearful infection could spread at childcare centres that accept high numbers of unvaccinated children.
New legislation allows centres to refuse children who aren’t immunised. However, at least two providers have said they would welcome these enrolments.
“I would caution against that because you are creating a bed where infection can spread rapidly,” Acting Health Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said on Wednesday.
“If you have a cohort of children that are essentially all unvaccinated that would be extremely dangerous.
“I would be very fearful of an outbreak at a particular childcare centre, very fearful indeed.”
Dr Lynham said the centres would be leaning on those children that had been vaccinated to stop the spread of disease.
However, he said it was a personal choice for both parents and providers.
Churches of Christ Care, which runs 20 centres across Queensland, announced late Tuesday that it would welcome unvaccinated children.
“While unvaccinated children are not excluded, we do encourage all families to vaccinate children,” general manager Jane Carter said.
The centres will take precautionary measures including keeping records and monitoring, and special consideration will be given to unvaccinated babies.
Childcare provider C&K, believed to be the state’s largest, made a similar announcement last week.
Under the federal “no jab, no pay” law, which came into effect on New Year’s Day, parents who don’t immunise their children will stop receiving childcare benefits and rebates.
The legislation, passed in state parliament last year, gives centres the power to refuse to take children under five whose parents have failed to ensure they complete mandated vaccination schedules.