The information below (written in 2011) summarises how the recommendations made in the Report of the Health [Select] Committee Inquiry into How to Improve Completion Rates of Childhood Immunisation which was published in 2011.
In 2012, the NZ government ruled out linking children’s vaccinations to ECE centre or school enrolments or parental benefits. (Please see this link for details: http://www.noforcedvaccines.org/nz-government-vaccination-policy/immunisation-decision-important-victory-for-human-rights/). The text below has been retained because it documents No Forced Vaccines’ concerns prior to the government’s rejection of a coercive vaccination policy; please see this link for details.
This information has been retained on this website as historical background for teachers and others who are interested in the vaccination issue in Nz.
If you are interested in joining No Forced Vaccines please see this link: http://www.noforcedvaccines.org/join-us/
On March 24, 2011, the Report of the Health [Select] Committee Inquiry into How to Improve Completion Rates of Childhood Immunisation was published on the NZ parliament website at the following link:
Teachers, ECE centres and schools could all be adversely affected if the government accepts some of the recommendations in the Report:
1) Teachers could be forced to discriminate against children on the basis of their vaccination status and deny some children their right to attend an ECE centre or school
A number of recommendations in the Select Committee Report (if accepted by the government) will impact on parents and children, and potentially undermine the ability of schools to maintain positive relationship with parents and provide the educational opportunities that the children in your community deserve.
One of the recommendations in the report is the following:
“We recommend to the Government that it strengthen the requirements on parents to present immunisation information when their children enrol at early childhood centres or schools. The required immunisation information should consist of either a certificate demonstrating that the child has received all the appropriate vaccinations, or a written statement that the parents have declined to immunise their child. We consider this should be implemented within one year.” (Page 20 – emphasis added)
If the government accepts this recommendation, it could mean that children who have not had all the recommended vaccinations for their age (or none) could be barred from enrolling at a school or early childhood centre.
This recommendation is clearly discriminatory and appears to be designed to force parents to choose between their child having no vaccinations at all or having all the recommended vaccinations – and if the government accepts this recommendation, it is teachers and support staff at schools who will be expected to be the enforcers of this coercive policy.
2) ECE centres could face a funding crisis as 20 Hours Free ECE subsidies could be withdrawn from some children
For children who are already enrolled in an ECE centre continuing attendance at an early childhood centre may also be threatened if the recommendations are accepted since on Page 33 the report suggests making access to the 20 Hours Free ECE policy dependent on parents’ supplying proof of their children’s vaccination status.)
3) Many parents could be face additional financial stress which could impact adversely on children’s ECE attendance and the ability of schools to run their programmes
In addition, the Report of the Health [Select] Committee made the following recommendation:
“We recommend to the Government that it direct the Ministry of Health to explore providing incentives to immunisation providers and parents. This exploration should include reviewing the way that the immunisation benefit is paid, recognising the costs of reaching those most in need, and examining the possibility of linking existing parental benefits to immunisation.” (Page 18 – emphasis added)
The possibility that the government could link “existing parental benefits” to vaccination is worrying, especially because the report does not define what these “existing parents benefits” might be. Could the “existing parental benefits” mean Family Support payments or the In-Work Tax Credit that many families depend upon to make ends meet?
Some parents (such as those with strong religious beliefs or those whose children had had adverse reactions to previous vaccines so they decide against allow them to have further vaccinations) might be prepared to forgo “existing parental benefits” and suffer considerable financial hardship should the government decide to link “existing parental benefits” to children’s vaccination status.
This would obviously impact on the family – and reduce the ability of parents to foster their children’s learning by taking them on educational outings such as to the zoo or museums, or paying for music or dance lessons or sports club membership.
At the ECE level, the financial hardship suffered by some families if the government were to decide to withhold “existing parental benefits” on the basis of children’s vaccination status, might make attendance at an ECE centre an unaffordable luxury.
At school level, parents who lost income due to the linking of “existing parental benefits” to vaccination would have less ability to pay the fees and donations necessary to support their school to provide educational programmes.
4) Special issues for Special Character schools
Catholic parents (and Catholic schools) could be particularly badly affected by the punitive aspects of these recommendations given that many Catholic parents who are supportive of vaccination in general decide against giving their children the MMR vaccine due to the fact that “human diploid cells” derived from aborted human foetal tissue in its manufacture.*
5) The present situation
Currently NZ parents can choose whether they want their children to have all, some or none of the vaccines on the childhood vaccination schedule, according to what they think is best for each individual child and their family’s beliefs and lifestyle. Perhaps most importantly, if they choose to vaccinate their child but then find that their son or daughter is suffering from unacceptable side effects from the recommended vaccination schedule, they have the option of delaying vaccinations until his/her health improves or deciding against further vaccines. This right, vitally important to running a vaccination programme that is as safe as possible, could disappear if the government adopts a new “all or nothing” approach to vaccination.
6) Coerced vaccination of children could lead to coerced vaccination of teachers
The submission to the Inquiry of the Health Select Committee by Children’s Commissioner stated that there is a “need to ensure that all adults especially those working directly with children and young people are themselves immunised”.
The Report of the Health Select Committee did not mention any plan to mandate vaccination for teachers. However, given the recommendation by the Commissioner for Children, and the fact that the Report of the Health Select Committee is recommending that NZ restrict educational opportunities for children on the basis of their vaccination status, it is possible that teachers could face similar discrimination in the future.
In Australia, the rights of health professionals (and health care students) to make decisions about their own medical care have already been under attack in New South Wales with a directive in 2007 stating that existing employees had to submit to disease screening and vaccination procedures or be barred from working with “high risk” areas of the health system. It also appears that health professionals applying for jobs (and health care students applying for practicum placements) in the NSW public system must agree to undergo screening and vaccination procedures in order to gain employment or practicum placements. (The relevant document can be downloaded from the following link:
If the NZ government were to decide to accept these recommendation and link access to education and “existing parental benefits” to children’s vaccination status many parents might have no option but to choose for their child/ren to have all vaccines – or none – even if their preferred option would be for their child to have some vaccines – but choose to avoid others. This would be frankly coercive and should be unacceptable in a democracy where parents have the right to make decisions pertaining to the care of their children, and where people are able to exercise freedom of religion.
If you would like to see New Zealand parents continue to be able to decide which vaccines their children should have – without their child potentially being denied his or her right to an education or their family suffering from financial hardship, now is the time to act. Please read the rest of the site www.noforcedvaccines.org to learn more about this issue and how you can help with this vital campaign to protect parents’ and children’s democratic rights. Thank you.