Medical grounds will be the only exemption for child vaccinations under the government’s No Jab, no Pay policy

Vaccination rates are high and increasing, but the government is aiming for a solid 100% rate, says Health Minister Greg Hunt.

Appearing on television over the weekend, Minister Hunt explained that while about 93% of kids in Australia are vaccinated it’s not enough to ensure herd immunity.

“It’s not just about protecting each individual child, it’s about protecting every child,” he told both Channel 7 and Channel 9.

“The Prime Minister and I met with a mum … on Friday. Her beautiful young, one month old lost a battle to whooping cough a few years ago.

“It’s in all likelihood an illness that was picked up whilst dropping an older child at a childcare centre.

“Ultimately it’s about protecting kids against horrendous illnesses that are agonising and potentially in some cases tragic. These measures are humane, they’re about protecting lives, they’ve about protecting people against lifelong consequences.”

Minister Hunt says that while it’s a “tough policy”, the government will now be cutting the religious exemption from child vaccination – which means the only exemption allowed is on medical grounds.

“Medical grounds are an absolute exemption. Under No Jab, No Pay, which is what the Federal Government does, what we have is no conscientious objection. Basically it’s medical only,” he says.

“What does that mean? It means unless a child has a medical exemption, they will have to have a vaccination to attend childcare or kindergarten.”

The Prime Minister has written to all state premiers and chief ministers, urging them to put in place a No Jab, No Play policy.

“We want to work with all of the states. And I’m very confident that they’ll come on board,” says Minister Hunt.