The Federal Government’s ‘No Jab No Pay’ policy effective in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria since 2017 requires families to vaccinate their children, lest their welfare payments be reduced by $14 a week per child.
Researchers at The University of Sydney have found a rise in vaccinations of between 1-2% in certain areas since the implementation of the policy.
The new policy puts pressure on low-income earners and those who use government funding to support their family’s income.
Concerns around the policy focus on the minimisation of the human right to choose, and the effect on unvaccinated children in being unable to attend school. It is argued that it is not just the family that misses out by not vaccinating, but the children, too, who miss out on not only money which supports their wellbeing, but on the social and educational opportunities associated with attending school.
Health experts such as the Department of Health consider immunisation of every child to be essential to the wellbeing of not only the individual but the community at large. The Department of Health’s website suggests that around 90-95% of the population must be immune to stop disease transmission. At the moment this number is around 94% nationally. Certain regions require more work, with rates as low as 85% in some areas. These areas may be at risk for facing serious and possibly fatal diseases such as measles, diphtheria and whooping cough.
There are apps available to assist parents in staying on top of their children’s vaccinations. These apps, such as ‘Save the Date to Vaccinate’ in NSW, track a child’s vaccinations and send reminders on when they’re due for their next one. These apps can be downloaded via the Android and Apple app stores. Parents can always discuss any vaccination questions or concerns with their GP or visit the NSW Government Health website for more information.