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No-vacc child care proposed

ABC
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Public health advocates say plans for a no-vaccination child care centre in northern New South Wales are irresponsible and dangerous.

The ABC has seen an expression of interest on Facebook, asking parents if they would be interested in sending their children to such a centre.

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The Northern Rivers region has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and frequently deals with outbreaks of whooping cough.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr John Cunningham, who is a member of Stop the Anti Vaccination Network, said it was one of the most dangerous ideas he had come across.

“I can only think that this is one of the more stupid ideas I’ve ever heard of — a child care centre full of unvaccinated children would serve as a haven for disease,” he said.

“Certainly if there was any outbreak of disease, that is certainly where it would come from or where it would go to very quickly.”

Earlier this year the federal government announced welfare benefits would be denied to people who refused to immunise their children.

The ABC has been sent a post on Facebook from a woman named Juanita Wanda Halden in Tabulum, west of Lismore, asking if parents would like to be involved in establishing an anti-vaccination child care centre.

Ms Halden declined a request for an interview but said in a statement she was in the preliminary stages of planning the centre and would release more information early next year.

NSW Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said the state and federal governments should intervene if the centre goes ahead.

“Last week the state government announced they were going to provide $20 million to help set up early child care centres across the state, and the federal government has responsibility for accreditation, so state and federal governments both have responsibility,” Mr Secord said.

“People in the developing world want to have their children vaccinated, but in New South Wales we have families who are refusing and now trying to set up a child care centre.

“It’s absolutely irresponsible.”

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