The “No Jab, No Pay” changes in the government policy which came into action on the 1st of January 2016 across Australia has been met with quite a lot of controversy. The new policy removes welfare payments to parents who have not vaccinated their children fully according to the National Immunisation Program (NIP). This could see some families losing up to $15 000 per year per child. There is an exception to this is that individuals who are immunocompromised or medically exempt from this will not have their welfare payments removed. However, conscientious and religious objections to vaccination will no longer be accepted. The introduction of the “No Jab, No Pay” policy lead to an increase in the vaccination rates, with 5 738 children whose parents previously registered as opposed to vaccinations now being vaccinated and a further 148 000 kids who were behind on vaccinations where brought up to date with their vaccinations within the first 6 months of the introduction of the policy.
Figure 1: National Vaccination Schedule
Many individuals believe that this is an act of repression, forcing individuals who cannot afford to lose their welfare payments into vaccinating their children. The introduction of the legislation was met with wide spread opposition, including rallies, public hearings and senate inquiries. They believe that parents should not have the choice to refuse vaccination without adequate scientific background, while there are many objections about the safety of vaccines, many believe that the damage that individuals do by decreasing herd immunity in a community is much greater. What do you think about the “No Jab, No Pay” policy?