Anti-Vaxxers

Australia punishes anti-vaxxer parents with ‘No Jab, No Pay’ program

The Australian government is known for its no-nonsense approach to people who refuse to vaccinate themselves or their children. In addition to a series of measures implemented over the last few years, Australia will now take away $28 USD in bi-weekly tax benefit payments from parents for each of their children who are not vaccinated.

“Immunization is the safest way to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases,” MP Dan Tehan said in a statement. “Parents who don’t immunize their children are putting their own kids at risk as well as the children of other people.”

According to Australia’s News.com.au, parents previously lost their Family Tax Benefit Part A end of year supplement, worth $737, as a penalty for refusing vaccines. The new changes overall result in roughly the same amount of money.

As with most vaccine mandates, children who have certain medical issues will be granted exemptions.

In 2016, Australia did away with the “conscientious objection” exemption, which previously allowed parents to cite their personal belief systems as grounds for vaccine refusal.

During the same year, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia announced that nurses and midwives who push anti-vaxxer views at work or on social media could face prosecution.

“With no exceptions we expect all registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives to use the best available evidence in making practice decisions.This includes providing information to the public about public health issues,” Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) Dr. Lynette Cusack said in a statement in October of 2016.

“The board will consider whether the nurse or midwife has breached their professional obligations and will treat these matters seriously,” the statement continued. “Any published anti-vaccination material and/or advice which is false, misleading or deceptive which is being distributed by a registered nurse, enrolled nurse or midwife (including via social media) may also constitute a summary [offense] under the National Law and could result in prosecution by AHPRA [Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.]”

In 2017, Australia urged its childcare centers to turn away children who aren’t vaccinated and demanded that kids attending daycare need to be either immunized or be least be placed in a “recognized catch-up schedule” that includes vaccinations for Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella.

As a result of the country’s strict stance, the vaccination rate has now jumped up to 92.2 percent.

Featured image via Flickr

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