The Australian federal government is set to crack down on parents, who use the religious exemption rules, as an excuse to not vaccinate their children.
Any parent who refuses to vaccinate their child based on “Religious grounds”, will loose their entitlement to family benefits.
Today the Social Services Minister Scott Morrison, announced that automatic entitlement to family benefits, such as childcare benefits is no longer available to some people. Parents can no longer refuse immunization based on Religious, Philosophical or other personal grounds, simply by signing an objection form.
If they do, they might be putting the other majority of people who have taken vaccination as a form of protection for their children, in danger. It is a prerequisite to receiving tax payer money for all Auzzies from 2016.
Tony Abbott’s government will also give doctors higher incentive payments for reminding parents to vaccinate their children.
The Daily Mail reports:
The ‘conscientious objector’ exemption on children’s vaccination has been effective since the Howard Government, but after meeting with religious organisations, Mr Morrison said payments will be cut off if parents don’t immunise their kids.
‘We have had discussions with the Church of Christ, Scientist and have formed the view that this exemption is no longer current or necessary and will therefore be removed,’ Minister Morrison said.
‘Having been informed the religion is not advising members to avoid vaccinating their children and following engagement with members, the government no longer sees that the exemption is current and the authorisation for this exemption has been withdrawn.
‘Having resolved this outstanding matter the government will not be receiving nor authorising any further vaccination exemption applications from religious organisations.
‘The only authorised exemption from being required to have children immunised in order to receive benefits is on medical grounds.
‘While parents have the right to decide to not vaccinate their children, if they are doing so as a vaccination objector, they are no longer eligible for assistance from the Australian Government.’
The announcement comes after Mr Morrison said while immunising children against deadly diseases protects the wider society, it should be a prerequisite to receive tax payer money.
‘We’ve got to think about the health and well-being of all the other children that are put at risk, and it’s their health that also matters,’ he said.
‘And in fact, you know, those parents have taken decisions to immunise their children, and that’s obviously the sensible thing to do. We’re a free country, and we’re for free society, but that doesn’t mean you get to take taxpayers’ money if you don’t want to go along with the rules.’
While doctors and pro-vaccination groups are tipped to welcome the reforms as a way to increase the number of children being vaccinated, some immunisation experts are worried the move won’t bolster immunisation rates. Currently around 39,000 children under the age of seven are not vaccinated.
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