Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children may find themselves refused from Queensland childcare centres under a new bill introduced into State Parliament.
Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was unashamedly following the lead set by NSW state Labor by putting the public health bill forward. Ms Palaszczuk said she hoped it received the same level of support.
"It's the right thing to do, it makes sense and I would be very surprised if there was any other member of parliament who did not support this initiative," Ms Palaszczuk said.
The Bill, to be introduced during the Thursday afternoon parliament session by shadow health minister Jo-Ann Miller will seek to "give children enrolled at child care centres and the staff who look after them protection from preventable infectious disease".
The law will make exceptions for those who can not receive vaccinations for medical reasons.
Ms Miller said it was "not about punishing parents" it was a "legally binding right to protect children".
Ms Miller said the National Health Performance Authority had found 70,000 children were not fully immunised in Australia, with the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane, named as the area with the state's lowest immunisation compliance rates.
"What we see in Queensland is a situation, particularly on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane, where the rates of vaccination are as low as Uganda and Angola. This is not acceptable in a first world country in Australia and it is not acceptable in Queensland," Ms Miller said.
"Our babies, our little ones are precious to all of us, we need to protect them all from some of the worst diseases and we really need to look after them."
The opposition said they were hoping for bipartisan support.
"It's the right thing to do, it makes sense and I would be very surprised if there was any other member of parliament who did not support this initiative"
Could there be a worse nightmare for a parent?
Since Monday, when Amanda Berry escaped the Cleveland home where she’d been imprisoned along with her 6-year-old daughter and two other women, parents everywhere have been just a little more on edge. The story of those captives did not have the worst ending it possibly could have, but what they endured will plague them and their families for years to come. And now we all have a vivid reminder of what could happen to our own kids.
Odds are, it won't. The chances of your child being a victim of a "stereotypical" abduction – whisked away by a stranger with the intent to keep, kill or abuse them – are roughly one in a million. But how do we strike that balance between concerns over keeping our kids safe while allowing them to grow up?
“Common sense needs to prevail,” says Pattie Fitzgerald of Safely Ever After, Inc., a Los Angeles-area consultant who teaches safety to parents and children. “When this stuff is in the news, my phone rings off the hook because everyone suddenly thinks there are kidnappers all around. But it’s unusual.”
Here's how unusual:
Plus: Amanda Berry, the Ohio Abductions and What Lies Ahead
And every couple of years a story like this dominates the news cycle, rattling parents to their core. In 2011, 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky was dismembered and killed by a stranger after taking a wrong turn on his way home from camp in Brooklyn. Then there is Jaycee Dugard, abducted at age 11 while walking to the school bus in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., and held captive as a sex slave for 18 years.
Experts like McBride and Fitzgerald offer a few tips to parents who are wondering what to do in light of recent events:
Check Up On the Adults in the Area
Parents should be sure to have contact with all of the adults who have contact with their kids. Check references with other families who have used the same childcare providers and be cautious about the amount of information you share with friends, neighbors and coworkers. For access to sex-offender registries visit the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website.
“Don’t make assumptions that just because someone is volunteering to be your kids’ soccer coach that it means they’re a great person,” says McBride.
If an adult who is not from your close circle approaches you for time alone with your child, she says, that should be a red flag. Any coach who wants some special one-on-one training time with your child or any teacher who thinks your child needs special lessons or tutoring ought to be scrutinized carefully.
Teach – and Learn – the Rules
Kids themselves can learn what to do by recognizing and avoiding a potentially dangerous situation. Keep it simple by establishing a system of rules. Teach your child that if he is approached by what Fitzgerald calls a “tricky person” or if they get an “uh-oh” feeling, seek out a trusted adult immediately.
Drill them, too, on what they should do if someone they don’t know asks them a question on, for example, a field trip: check with a familiar adult no matter what. If that predator says they’ve already checked for the child, the child needs to know to say “no I am the one who has to check,” that it’s a rule.
“It’s always important to approach it with them as 'safety rules,' because that’s clear cut,” says Fitzgerald. “Kids get through their days with rules and if they see an adult who is breaking a rule, they’ll know what action to take. You don’t have to give them long lectures.”
A recent survey of 8,000 failed abduction attempts found that 83 percent of the targeted kids got away because they knew what to do. They knew the rules. If they were grabbed by a stranger, they knew they had to walk or run or punch or kick or bite or scream their way out of the threat.
The rules aren’t complicated. “The top tricks used by predators still work. They offer candy, money, ask for help in finding a puppy, ask kids if they want a ride,” says McBride. “They’re asking a child any sort of a question at all, hoping to engage the child because we’ve taught our kids to be polite.”
When Can They Walk To School Alone?
Kids 12 and younger should never walk anywhere alone. If they’re 10 or 11 and feel old enough to walk to school without an adult, they should go with at least one friend as part of a buddy system, says Fitzgerald. And plot the route with them ahead of time, pointing out local businesses or neighbors’ homes that are safe if they ever get concerned someone might be following or bugging them.
If you feel they’re old enough for a phone, make a rule about not using it while walking. A distracted child is an easy target, says Fitzgerald.
In the final analysis, though, no amount of drilling or rules-learning can replace the supervision of a caring, trusted adult. “You can teach kids some skills; you can model behavior and rehearse scenarios,” says McBride. “But the bottom line is, nothing beats your supervision and attention.”
We love to report on good news, and this certainly falls into that category! For the first time ever, a baby born infected with H.I.V. has been cured.
Dr. Hannah B. Gay, an associate professor of pediatrics, ordered two blood draws an hour apart to test for the presence of the virus’ RNA and DNA.
The tests found a level of virus at about 20,000 copies per milliliter, fairly low for a baby. But since tests so early in life were positive, it suggests the infection occurred in the womb rather than during delivery, Dr. Gay said.
Typically a newborn with an infected mother would be given one or two drugs as a prophylactic measure. But Dr. Gay said that based on her experience, she almost immediately used a three-drug regimen aimed at treatment, not prophylaxis, not even waiting for the test results confirming infection.
Virus levels rapidly declined with treatment and were undetectable by the time the baby was a month old. That remained the case until the baby was 18 months old, after which the mother stopped coming to the hospital and stopped giving the drugs.
When the mother and child returned five months later, Dr. Gay expected to see high viral loads in the baby. But the tests were negative.
Suspecting a laboratory error, she ordered more tests. “To my greater surprise, all of these came back negative,” Dr. Gay said.
Dr. Gay contacted Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, an immunologist at the University of Massachusetts, who was working with Dr. Persaud and others on a project to document possible pediatric cures. The researchers, sponsored by amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, put the baby through a battery of sophisticated tests. They found tiny amounts of some viral genetic material but no virus able to replicate, even lying dormant in so-called reservoirs in the body.
There have been scattered cases reported in the past, including one in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1995, of babies clearing the virus, even without treatment.
Those reports were greeted skeptically, particularly since testing methods were not very sophisticated back then. But those reports and this new one could suggest there is something different about babies’ immune systems, said Dr. Joseph McCune of the University of California, San Francisco.
One hypothesis is that the drugs killed off the virus before it could establish a hidden reservoir in the baby. One reason people cannot be cured now is that the virus hides in a dormant state, out of reach of existing drugs. When drug therapy is stopped, the virus can emerge from hiding.
“That goes along with the concept that, if you treat before the virus has had an opportunity to establish a large reservoir and before it can destroy the immune system, there’s a chance you can withdraw therapy and have no virus,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Adults, however, typically do not know they are infected right as it happens, he said.
Dr. Steven Deeks, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said if the reservoir never established itself, then he would not call it a true cure, though this was somewhat a matter of semantics. “Was there enough time for a latent reservoir, the true barrier to cure, to establish itself?” he said.
Still, he and others said, the results could lead to a new protocol for quickly testing and treating infants.
In the United States, transmission from mother to child is rare — several experts said there are only about 200 cases a year or even fewer — because infected mothers are generally treated during their pregnancies.
If the mother has been treated during pregnancy, babies are typically given six weeks of prophylactic treatment with one drug, AZT, while being tested for infection. In cases like the Mississippi one, where the mother was not treated during pregnancy, standards have been changing, but typically two drugs are used.
But women in many developing countries are less likely to be treated during pregnancy. And in South Africa and other African countries that lack sophisticated testing, babies born to infected mothers are often not tested until after six weeks, said Dr. Yvonne Bryson, chief of global pediatric infectious disease at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Bryson, who was not involved in the Mississippi work, said she was certain the baby had been infected and called the finding “one of the most exciting things I’ve heard in a long time.”
Studies are being planned to see if early testing and aggressive treatment can work for other babies. While the bone marrow transplant that cured Mr. Brown is an arduous and life-threatening procedure, the Mississippi treatment is not and could become a new standard of care.
While it might be difficult for some poorer countries to do, treating for only a year or two would be cost effective, “sparing the kid a lifetime of antiretroviral therapy,” said Rowena Johnston, director of research at amfAR.
You are a KindyNews reader who wants and expects to be informed about many of Australia and the world's most important and serious news stories. So, we put together the Serious News Section especially to accommodate articles, breaking news and issue features as they arise on a daily basis. The articles here may also contain and combine written stories from several sources, including video clips as well as links to some other mainstream international and local news sites in order to be as well rounded and informative as possible. We will do our best to keep you informed and up to date. Your feedback and comments are most welcome!