Australia have stepped up their rules on vaccinations – they’re starting to fine parents twice a month whose children aren’t vaccinated.
Maybe it’s just in my circle, but the concept of vaccinations seems to have lost its urgency in recent years.
Most people can barely remember when their last jab was, unless it was for something exotic like going travelling – then it was probably shared on every social platform available to them….
had my first three vaccinations for travelling last night and i cant feel my arms ??
— paige??????? (@pokerwitheIIen) November 2, 2017
In Australia though, it’s a different story. There are strict rules for getting vaccinated.
In various Australian states, children have to have the injections in order to attend educational centres and daycare and there are no exemptions for people who object to vaccinations on a moral or philosophical level.
Toni McCaffery is one person who’s glad of the additional rules about vaccinations, after her baby died as a result of whooping cough.
Speaking to ABC about the daycare and educational centres’ rules, she said:
When I took my daughter into a childcare centre in 2009, after she died, I found out there were more than six [whooping cough] notifications for that centre.
I also found out at the time the percentage of children, four-year-olds, across the country, only 83 per cent of them were up to date with their vaccines.
Now, that’s well over 90 per cent, so what that policy has done is make childcare centres so much safer.
I think the focus here is on the tiniest people in our community, the tiny babies that don’t have a chance to be protected.
Parents who refuse to immunise their children will begin paying for the choice from today. The government will slash fortnightly family payments by $28 per un-vaccinated child as part of their no jab, no pay policy.#7News pic.twitter.com/9VnbOnwuYX
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) July 1, 2018
In an attempt to raise their vaccination rates, the Australian government has put new laws in place – which began on July 1 – which mean parents who choose not to vaccinate their children will lose part of their support payments.
Minister for Social Services MP Dan Tehan released a statement about the new laws, which reads:
Parents who don’t vaccinate their children against disease will lose part of their fortnightly family support payment starting 1 July.
Family Tax Benefit Part A payments will be reduced by about $28 a fortnight for each child who does not meet immunisation requirements, under tougher No Jab, No Pay rules.
The change to No Jab, No Pay provides a constant reminder for parents to keep their children’s immunisation up to date.
The parents of unvaccinated children will lose $28AUD – about £16 – from their benefits per child every two weeks .
The statement continues:
Immunisation is the safest way to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Parents who don’t immunise their children are putting their own kids at risk as well as the children of other people.
The new deductions come after the country introduced its ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy in 2016, which saw families with unvaccinated children lose a family benefit of around $737AUD – £412 at the end of the year.
As a result of the policy, in 2016, 246,000 more children had their immunisations, with the country’s immunisation rate raising to 92.2 per cent.
The policy has now switched from the end of year loss to a fortnightly one, to make the effect of the parents loss ever-present and to serve as a reminder for them to get their children immunised.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.