Family & Parenting

Australia Is Fining Parents $550 Per Year For Not Vaccinating Their Children

That's a hefty fine! Would you support a this type of law?

The question of whether or not to vaccinate is an issue that has divided parents around the world. But now, taking a strong stance, Australia has implemented a new policy in which parents who opt not to vaccinate their kids will face a fine.

“Immunization is the safest way to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dan Tehan, the country’s Minister for Social Services, in a press release. “Parents who don’t immunize their children are putting their own kids at risk as well as the children of other people.”

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How Much Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Will Stand To Lose

As a way to encourage parents to vaccinate, those who choose not to do so will lose AU$28 ($20 USD) from their family tax benefits. This is not a one-time fine, either. Every two weeks, those who opt not to vaccinate will lose this AU$28. For a full year, that’s about AU$728 ($520 USD) in lost benefits.

Australia has fined parents for not vaccinating in the past. Called the “no jab, no pay” policy, the legislation was passed by federal parliament in 2015, with the end result being that parents who chose not to vaccinate lost out on their end-of-year supplement, roughly AU$737 (or around $545 in U.S. currency).

Children who had medical issues that would contraindicate vaccinations were given special dispensation by the government, but other parents were fined accordingly.

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In another effort to encourage vaccinations, the Australian government has also provided free vaccinations to help bring children, young people and refugees up to date on all their shots.

Senior Citizens Receive Flu Shots
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The plan seems to have worked thus far. According to 7 News Sydney, vaccination rates in New South Wales are at a record high. More than 93 percent of children between the ages of 1–5 are now up to date on their vaccinations. And in Victoria, a state in southeastern Australia, over 95 percent of kids who are 5 years old are fully immunized.

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Compare this to vaccination rates across the United States. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the number of parents who are choosing not to vaccinate is on the rise. In 2006, 75 percent of pediatricians say they encountered parents who turned down vaccinations. By 2013, that number had risen to 87 percent.

And Blue Cross Blue Shield reports that “Documented parental / guardian refusals increased nearly 70 percent for children born in 2013 compared to children born in 2010.”

What do you think? Would you support a “no jab, no pay” program in the United States?