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    Australian PM Proposes to Ban Unvaccinated Children From Attending Childcare

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    Asia & Pacific
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    Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday announced a plan to enforce a ban on unvaccinated children at childcare centers and pre-schools throughout the country.

    The Australian prime minister sent letters to state and territorial leaders asking them to support the tough new measures, claiming that all parents deserve to know if they are sending their children to safe institutions.

    "If a parent says 'I'm not going to vaccinate my child', they're not simply putting their child at risk, they're putting everybody else's children at risk too," he told reporters, following a meeting with a mother whose one-month-old baby died from whooping cough, likely caught at a nursery school.

    Full immunization, or participation in an approved "catch-up program," is currently required in three Australian states, but Turnbull is pushing for a countrywide implementation of mandatory immunization.

    "At our next [Council of Australian Goverments] meeting I propose we agree that all jurisdictions implement legislation that excludes children who are not vaccinated from attending childcare or preschool, unless they have a medical exemption," he told the media.

    According to Turnbull, vaccination is not a medical program in which parents make their own decisions, as these decisions can have a negative impact on others.

    Turnbull's proposal came after a public debate on immunization sparked by Australian right-wing leader and nationalist One Nation party member Pauline Hanson who referred to the policy of denying school access to unvaccinated students as "dictatorship."

    Public health experts have welcomed the prime minister's proposal, pointing out that it has long been proved that vaccines save lives and that the government must combat out-of-date belief systems.    

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