If you live in Australia and want to exercise your right not to vaccinate your kids, you’d better be prepared to pay for that privilege. The new federal budget will see parents who don’t vaccinate losing AUD$14 per week, which equates to around USD$10.49 at today’s rate, from their family tax benefit payments. The measure will be set in motion starting July 2018, and it is expected to raise millions of dollars while punishing those who don’t want to vaccinate their kids.
Health Minister Greg Hunt and Social Services Minister Christian Porter have said that taking this approach rather than withholding a supplement at the end of the year would be a good way to constantly remind parents that they need to vaccinate their kids. It will also apply to families who do not get their four-year-olds a health check, which presumably is yet another way to try to push vaccines on kids.
Families who want to catch up on their vaccines will be able to do so for free under a $14 million program. The government will also spend $5 million to promote the benefits of vaccination in areas that have lower immunization rates, such as the far north coast of New South Wales.
Australia is a hostile place for anti-vaxxers
Most countries take a dim view of those who oppose vaccines, but Australia is a particularly unfriendly place for them. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s “No Jab, No Play” policy excludes kids who haven’t been vaccinated from going to preschool or childcare unless they have an official medical exemption. “Vaccine objection” would not be considered a valid reason to skip the shots under the proposal. Laws that prevent unvaccinated children from going to school already exist in some parts of Australia, including Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.
Meanwhile, the recently updated vaccination standards of The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia urged members of the public to report any midwives and nurses who are sharing beliefs that could be construed as opposing vaccination.
In addition, some Australian children are being denied medical treatment because their immunizations are not up to date. A poll of more than 2,000 parents found that one out of every six children who were not current on their vaccinations had been refused care. According to that study, 95 percent of the country’s children were fully vaccinated despite the fact that a third of parents had concerns and one-tenth of parents felt vaccines could be behind autism.