500 kids a day on catch-up vac­cines

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

THE phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess of the No Jab, No Pay cam­paign has been re­vealed for the first time by new fig­ures that show 500 chil­dren a day are be­ing vac­ci­nated.

The num­ber of fully vac­ci­nated five-year-olds has hit 94.85 per cent, the high­est level ever, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics ob­tained by The Sun­day Tele­graph.

That rep­re­sents 174,000 chil­dren across the coun­try who have been treated since vac­ci­na­tion was linked to fam­ily ben­e­fit pay­ments.

At the same time, the par­ents of 102,000 chil­dren have had their gov­ern­ment ben­e­fits with­held be­cause they ig­nored the rules.

A fur­ther 30,000 chil­dren are still within the 63day grace pe­riod given to par­ents to get their chil­dren’s shots up to date.

No Jab, No Pay was made law in 2016 after a Sun­day Tele­graph cam­paign. It strips par­ents of the fort­nightly Fam­ily Tax Ben­e­fit sup­ple­ment — worth up to $766.50 — for ev­ery child who does not meet the im­mu­ni­sa­tion re­quire­ments. Ben­e­fits are re­stored as soon as a child is fully im­mu­nised.

Fam­i­lies and So­cial Ser­vices Min­is­ter Anne Rus­ton said link­ing im­mu­ni­sa­tion to ben­e­fit cuts was a pow­er­ful driver for fam­i­lies to make sure their chil­dren’s vac­ci­na­tions were up to date. “We want par­ents to have con­fi­dence that they can take their chil­dren to school with­out the fear they will be at risk of con­tract­ing a se­ri­ous or po­ten­tially life-threat­en­ing ill­ness,” she said.

A state-by-state break­down shows more than 50,000 chil­dren have lined up for vac­ci­na­tions in NSW.

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