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Australia Will Fine Parents Every Two Weeks if They Don't Vaccinate Their Children

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which include action on universal access to quality healthcare. Vaccines should be accessible and affordable for all. You can take action here.

The Australian government has ramped up Australia’s already strong immunisation policy by targeting parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.  

Under the Coalition’s No Jab, No Pay program, those receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A payments — available to families to assist with the cost of raising children — will lose $28 every two weeks for each unvaccinated child.

“Immunisation is the safest way to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases,” Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan announced in a statement on July 2. “Parents who don’t immunise their children are putting their own kids at risk as well as the children of other people.”

Vaccines Should Be Accessible and Affordable For All

Since the No Jab, No Pay program was introduced in 2016, parents with unvaccinated children received just one $737 fine at the end of each year. According to Tehan, the transition from one end-of-year punishment to a biweekly fine will present “a constant reminder for parents to keep their children’s immunisations up to date."

Due to the rise in skepticism surrounding vaccines over the past few years, the Australian government has forbidden exceptions to those who oppose immunisations on religious, moral, or philosophical levels. Following in the federal government's footsteps, various Australian states have introduced a No Jab, No Play policy, which prevent unvaccinated children from attending kindergarten and day cares.

Since Australia’s initial vaccination policy was enacted, the immunisation rate in the nation has reach 92.2% — with an additional 246,000 children vaccinated.

The Turnbull government offered more than $14 million toward free, catch-up vaccinations in last year's budget. The government also announced it would allot $5.5 million over three years in an effort to persuade parents to vaccinate their children.

Related Stories Aug. 31, 2017 Australia’s Domestic Vaccine Push Is Important, But Short-Sighted

The policy crackdown has angered those against vaccinating their children, with various members from anti-vaccination groups stating the government is unfairly targeting their beliefs.

"The policy and crackdown targets us, our beliefs, and discriminates against our families, our children," Allona Lahn from the Natural Immunity Community told ABC News.

"We've been forced out of the mainstream. Out of sheer necessity we've created a community base to support families, we've had no choice other than to start our own social services. We use health practitioners within the anti-vaccine networks around Australia and anti-vaccination-friendly doctors in the community.”

Let’s Fight Against Future Diseases Together

Every year, an estimated 85% of children globally receive vaccines that protect them against diphtheria, polio, tuberculosis, tetanus, pertussis, and measles. These vaccines save 2.5 million lives. Despite widespread vaccination efforts, the World Health Organisation states global immunisation coverage has stalled at 85%.

“Immunisation is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between two and three million deaths each year,” the WHO announced in a statement.

“It is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations.”