As pushback against the anti-vaccine movement continues to grow, Australia took the lead by pushing its territories to ban unvaccinated children from daycare centers.
Reports says that around 5 percent of Australian children aren’t vaccinated — a figure that puts the country’s herd immunity at risk, prompting Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull to push for the action. Last year, the Australian government stopped paying childcare and welfare benefits to anti-vaxxer parents in addition to doing away with the “conscientious objection” exemption from mandatory immunizations. In October of 2016, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia urged prosecution for nurses and midwives who push anti-vaxxer views while working or on social media.
There’s some evidence that the pushback is working since vaccination rates are slowly beginning to rise again, but it’s also causing some of the most entrenched of anti-vaxxers to lash out in extreme ways. According to the Daily Telegraph, anti-vaxxer parents are organizing on secret Facebook groups to set up “backyard” daycare centers for the unvaccinated.
In a post to the 5,000-member group “Vaccine Free Australia,” Heidi Street of Sydney offered to open her home to unvaccinated kids.
“I would like to open a daycare in my home for 3-4 children, 2 days per week … I have 2 children … I have a strong passion for children’s health and wellbeing and have a beautiful nurturing soul,” she posted.
“Children’s days would be spent among nature, a walk to the beach, learning through play and games. Please let me know if this interests you.”
Street said her offer was in direct response to PM Turnbull’s ‘No Jab, No Play’ legislation which she says discriminates against parents who choose not to vaccinate.
“If these laws come into place, we are denying these children of an education which is an infringement on our basic rights,” she said, according to NINE.com.au.
“I’m just creating a solution to the problem . If our society does not want our unvaccinated children in childcare [centers], than this simply offers a place for the unvaccinated children to go.”
Anti-vaxxers believe that ingredients in vaccines are linked to autism and other conditions. So far, their claims have been roundly debunked by scientific consensus.