In March 2017, Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull announced plans to continue his mission to boost child vaccination percentages in the country. His new plan is modelled around the slogan “No Jab, No Play”.
What will be the impact of Australia's new vaccination policy?
In March 2017, Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull announced plans to continue his mission to boost child vaccination percentages in the country. His new plan is modelled around the slogan “No Jab, No Play”. If he succeeds in convincing the various territories it will be illegal for any unvaccinated child to enter all child care centres and preschools.
The rule which may be among the country’s tightest requires all children to be fully immunized, except those that cannot for a medical reason such as an allergy. In other states and territories, any children who aren’t vaccinated only have to be kept home from preschool if there’s an infectious disease outbreak.
What has Turnbull done in the past to raise percentage rates?
Vaccination in Australia changed radically after 1994 after a group called the Australian Vaccination Network put forth propaganda to show the adverse effects of vaccination. By 1999, only 73.6% of the country was vaccinated but after multiple campaigns for vaccination the number was up to 92.2% in 2015.
Earlier this year, Turnbull announced his plans to increase the percentage to 95%. He rolled out the “No Jab, No Pay” campaign which was subsequently made into law. This implements the policy of the government not pay child care for any unvaccinated child. Turnbull this did in a reaction to an outbreak of measles across the country which predominately in smaller communities. The plan takes away a 11,500 child welfare credit if a child is not immunized.
How does this effect Australians?
- Families against vaccinations in reports tend to be concentrated in the same communities which means outbreaks in certain areas of Australia amongst the 5% of unvaccinated is a strong possibility. Rights groups have come out against the law and said it was a human rights violation. Groups such as “No Jab, No Pay, No Way” took to the streets in opposition.
- Experts are also worried that the policy would be a disadvantage to migrant children, even those who had their shots, because of the complicated reporting requirements. The social psychology behind the move is enforcing ‘herd immunity’ which seeks to increase the percentage by forcing people to immunize.
- This could prove to either a milestone for Australia as they could near a 100% or anti-immunization groups could convince the people their basic rights are being taken away.
PM Turnbull’s plan on imposing Federal law on his population could lead to a segregationist attitude to those children who are not immunized. Reports from ABC Au have already reported cases of Doctors not treating children who have not been vaccinated. Also children in poorer areas who do not have access to proper health care facilities still pose a threat to outbreaks and also Turnbull could be at risk of ostracizing Aboriginal communities.