‘No jab, no pay’ threat prompts an extra 174,000 children to be vaccinated in one year
A threat to cut family tax benefits for Australians who did not vaccinate their children has resulted in an increase of 174,000 children being immunised over the last year.
Families of 350,000 children were told last financial year that they risked losing payments, worth up to $29 a fortnight for each child, if they did not get their vaccinations up to date.
The Federal Government imposes immunisation requirements for access to payments under the family tax benefit scheme, referred to as the ‘no jab, no pay’ policy.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said it was heartening to see the increase in vaccinations, but warned there was more work to be done.
“We’ve got to encourage those people that are actually actively choosing not to vaccinate their kids,” Senator Ruston told Sky News.
“The risks that are associated with not vaccinating, and the impact of the conditions or the diseases we’re vaccinating against, is a far more serious risk to their children than the concerns and the fears that they have about vaccination.
“We’ll continue working to make sure that we provide the proper information to these people, and hopefully we’ll see more and more of them understanding the value of vaccinating and immunising their children.”
The ‘no jab, no pay’ policy was announced by former prime minister Tony Abbott in 2015.
Senator Ruston said some families were not necessarily objectors against vaccinations.
“People, sometimes, in the trauma or the tough times that they have when they’ve got lots of young children, that sometimes they’ve been overlooking these vaccinations,” she said.
“Once they get to school age or childcare age, that’s when the realisation occurs, that obviously we were expecting their children to be vaccinated.
“Vaccinate your children by the due date, because that provides your child with the maximum amount of protection.”