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The Northern Star - - NEWS - Samantha Poate Samantha.Poate@north­ern­star.com.au

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.

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