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The Federal Government has introduced new laws in parliament to dock welfare payments by $28 a fortnight for parents whose children don’t meet immunisation requirements, instead of once a year.
THE Federal Government’s ‘no jab no pay’ policy has had a positive impact on the Northern Rivers, but one of the region’s leading health advisors says vaccination numbers could still be better.
Lead clinical advisor for the North Coast Primary Health Network, Dr Dan Ewald, said this year’s spike in whooping cough cases was a prime example.
“We have had loads of children with whooping cough and there would have been a whole lot less if vaccination rates had been higher,” he said.
In its conception, Dr Ewald was vocal about his scepticism towards the policy, saying he was concerned about the distress caused by people “feeling overly coerced”.
“For me, I have become more impressed that it is a policy that seems to be working and I think this latest adjustment is a sensible one,” Dr Ewald said.
“We have seen a flow through in some improvement in childhood immunisation rates.
“It should help remind people more frequently that they need to sit down with their GP and have a proper conversation about what they understand is going on with vaccinations.”
New laws introduced to parliament on Thursday look at docking welfare payments by $28 a fortnight for parents whose children don’t meet immunisation requirements.
Page MP Kevin Hogan said he supported the changes.
“More than 210,000 families have immunised their children since we first introduced the No Jab No Pay policy,” Mr Hogan said.
“The policy has been very successful so far and these changes simply strengthen it.”
The NSW State Government has also announced unvaccinated children will not be allowed to enrol in child care with the ‘conscientious objection’ options in 2018.