Here is something to give a silent cheer about. Or you can holler out a big yippee if you wish. Turns out the soon to be introduced No Jab No Pay laws are already working.
News Limited reports that recently released Immunise Australia Program figures from the June quarter have shown the number of conscientious objectors in NSW has dropped by more than 500 in NSW, from 9,732 to 9,205.
Since the start of the year it has dropped by 1,500. This is even before the law has come into affect.
Shall we holler together? Good stuff.
The first laws to have an impact in NSW were the No Jab No Play laws that started on the 1st of January 2014. They meant that no child could be enrolled in a childcare facility unless the parent or guardian provides an official record proving the child is fully immunised or an approved exemption is provided.
Similar laws to NSW's No Jab No Play laws are now due to be rolled out in both Victoria and Queensland on the 1st January 2016.
In April, the No Jab No Play was extended to the hip pocket, with a Federal Government announcement that from the 1st of January 2016 there would be national No Jab No Pay laws. A parents who failed to immunise their children would no longer received the $200-a-week childcare benefit, the $7500-a-year childcare rebate or the $726 Family Tax Benefit A annual supplement.
The figures, as reported by News Limited show the policy has been a success already, with the number of conscientious objectors falling by over 5,000 since December 2014 to 34,063. This is a new low.
Across the country the national rate of conscientious objection has fallen by 0.09 per cent since last quarter.
Australia’s childhood vaccination rates still remain high, at around 97 per cent but a growing number of geographic areas - Kuranda, the Gold Coast hinterland, Byron Shire, the Adelaide Hills and Daylesford - hold pockets of anti-vaccination families.
When they were first announced, there was speculation that the laws would not have any impact, that many strident anti-vaxxers were already wealthy and would not be impacted by a loss of welfare payments. But these latest figures show that in fact many of them may just value their monetary compensation over their misguided beliefs.
Research shows that the No Jab No Pay laws may also be having an impact due to the fact that many un-vaccinated children are not so due to fervent anti-vaccination beliefs but simply due to mundane reasons like the fact their parents who forget.
A University of Adelaide study earlier this year showed that family finances and access to services and chronic health conditions were key factors in why some parents don’t keep their children’s injections up to date.
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Out of 9.3% of un-immunised children, only one-in-six had parents who disagreed with vaccinations.
The study, published in the journal Vaccine, looked at 5,000 children aged between three and 19 months.
Associate Professor Helen Marshall Marshall said the findings could help programs designed to increase the uptake of vaccinations.
“Reminders and rescheduling of cancelled appointments and offering immunisation in different settings may help achieve better protection for children and the community,” she said.
Financial incentives seem to be helping too.
Lets all cross our fingers that as the laws come into effect in just under four months the rate of “conscientious objectors” falls even further.
What do you think of the no jab no pay laws?