New government reforms aim to increase levels of immunisation in children.
New government reforms aim to increase levels of immunisation in children.

762 reasons to immunise children

FROM July this year parents who fail to fully immunise their children may lose their family Tax Benefit Part A - end of year supplement worth $762.

Currently about nine in 10 Australian children are immunised.

But 8% of one year olds, 7% of two year olds and 11% of five year olds are not immunised which the Federal Government believes presents a risk to their health and the health of other children.

As part of Federal Government reforms, families will need to have their children fully immunised to receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A end-of-year supplement and a new immunisation check will be introduced for one year olds to supplement the existing immunisation checks at two and five years of age.

In addition, the government is launching a campaign to advise parents and healthcare providers on how to protect babies from whooping cough.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said the reforms would provide stronger incentives for families to get their young children immunised, at a lower overall cost to taxpayers.

"This is good for children, good for families and good for the economy," Minister Macklin said.

Anti-immunisation advocate Myles Davidson was concerned that families who had an ethical objection to immunisation would lose their benefit.

"All these families need to do is to visit their doctor and fill out a simple one page Immunisation exemption Conscientious objection form," he said.

On the form, the doctor signs off that he has explained the benefits and risks of immunisation to the parents.

The parents in turn sign off that they have discussed these benefits and risks with the doctor and are choosing not to immunise their child.

Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Chris Crawford said they would like to support parents and see as many children immunised as possible as it protects them against disease.

 

Is the government right to do this? Leave a comment below.


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