Queensland’s proposed vaccination laws could intensify the risk of disease outbreak and breach federal laws, experts and critics say.
The state government has proposed laws that would allow providers of day care, after school care and kindergartens to refuse access to unvaccinated children.
The government claims the measures will help raise the level of disease immunity to protect the public from outbreaks.
But Sydney University immunisation expert Associate Professor Julie Leask warns the law could have unintended consequences.
She says they could lead to further clustering of unvaccinated children in “pop-up childcare arrangements” if they are turned away.
“By doing that it intensifies the risks of outbreaks,” she told a hearing into the proposed laws.
“It won’t eliminate the risk of diseases in these centres because siblings, parents and staff can all have waned immunity.”
Prof Leask also said the laws would contravene the national partnership agreement on universal access to early childcare education.
She instead suggested the government consider ramping up education programs to help allay concerns of parents who haven’t vaccinated their children.
Meanwhile former Australian Vaccination Sceptics Network president Greg Beattie says proposed state laws would not protect childcare providers from federal legal challenges.
The prominent sceptic said the laws would breach the federal Disability Discrimination Act, which he used to challenge a childcare provider’s rejection of his unvaccinated children in the 1990s.
“In a nutshell this bill promises something it cannot provide,” Mr Beattie told the hearing.
“Childcare centres will get challenges.”
The hearing continues.