Parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids (including those who have religious and conscientious objections to it) will be hit with a deduction of A$28 (£16) a fortnight from their tax benefits for each child not up to date with their immunizations.
“Immunization is the safest way to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases,” Minister for Social Services 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.”
The minister said getting less cash would be a “constant reminder”.
The move is part of an ongoing clampdown by the Australian government on the “anti-vaxxer” movement. The number of kids who were not immunized for reasons of “conscientious objection” rose from 0.23% in 1999 to 1.77% in 2014, according to Australia’s parliament. “Immunization is the safest way to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases,” Minister for Social Services 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.”
To prevent a measles outbreak, 95% of the population needs to be immunized against the infection. In England, only 91.9% of children were vaccinated against measles between 2015 and 2016 compared to 94.2% in 2014-2015 and 94.3% in 2013-2014. As the Independent reports, in September last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that measles had been eliminated in the UK. The UK also reached the WHO target for 95 per cent of five-year-olds to receive the first dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
There had also been several outbreaks of measles across Europe in countries where MMR uptake has been low historically, including Romania, France, Greece, and Italy, with 48 measles deaths reported in the European Union since 2016.
In Queensland anti-vaxxers are reportedly setting up their own childcare services after laws allowing non-vaccinated children to be excluded came into effect.
“We organize group childcare arrangements and we’re now devising our own combined homeschooling system,” Allona Lahn of the Natural Immunity Community told ABC News.
“We use health practitioners within the anti-vaccine networks around Australia and ‘anti-vaccination-friendly’ doctors in the community.”
By giving preference to alternative methods instead of immunization, parents are directly responsible for epidemics of the disease that should have been destroyed. Therefore, all countries should introduce repressive measures against irresponsible parents in order to protect all citizens.
Photo Credits: Northern Star