The ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy has been in place since 2016, but has since been beefed up
The Australian government has doubled down on its current immunization policies to encourage parents to vaccinate their kids — now if they don’t, they’ll face bi-weekly fines.
The federal parliament passed Social Services Legislation Amendment (No Jab, No Pay) Act two years ago, which eliminated a parents’ right “to conscientiously object to vaccination for the purpose of eligibility to certain benefits provided under A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth).”
As of July 1, according to a statement by MP Dan Tehan, the Minister for Social Services, parents who don’t vaccinate their children will face bi-weekly fines by losing part of their support payments. The payments are part of Australia’s Family Tax Benefit Part A (for those who earn around $59,100 USD per year) will now lose $21 USD every two weeks for each child not up to date with their required vaccinations, according to News.com.au.
Since the initial policy in 2016 was enacted, 246,000 more children were vaccinated, and the immunization rate in the country hit 92.2 percent. The policy only takes into consideration vaccines recommended for children up to four years of age.
There are exemptions to the policy to deal with any major medical conditions in children, making it even more critical for everyone else in the country to be vaccinated.
The minister said getting less cash every two weeks will be a “constant reminder” for parents. Prior to July 1, parents whose children were not fully vaccinated lost their Family Tax Benefit Part A end of year supplement, which could be up to $545 USD.
While parents who refuse to vaccinate their children don’t face similar consequences in the U.S., the CDC reports vaccines given to infants and young children over the past two decades will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes. Despite this information, more than three million people die from vaccine-preventable diseases every single year. Approximately 1.5 million of these deaths are in children under five.
Back in 2015, the Australian government stopped permitting religious reasons as a legal exemption from vaccines. Various states also began to adhere to a “No Jab, No Play” policy, barring unvaccinated kids from attending educational centers and daycare.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped anti-vaxxers from setting up their own social services in order to attempt to get around current laws. “We organise group childcare arrangements and we’re now devising our own combined homeschooling system,” Allona Lahn of the Natural Immunity Community told ABC News. “Many relationships have broken down based on vaccination because there’s been a severe disagreement,” Lahn said.
OMG, maybe that’s because you’re putting other people’s kids in danger? Just a thought. Australia’s national target is for 95 percent of five-year-olds to be immunized. “Immunization is the safest way to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases,” Tehan said. “Parents who don’t immunize their children are putting their own kids at risk as well as the children of other people.”