No jab, no pay policy changes anti-vaxxers' ways
TAKING away social security payments and childcare incentives from anti-vaxxers has seen one in five "conscientious objectors" immunise their kids.
Under the "No Jab, No Pay" vaccination policy, which came into effect on January 1, parents lost their Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement and childcare subsidies if their child was not up to date with their immunisations.
The latest figures from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, released over the weekend, showed one in five of the 30,092 conscientious objectors registered in December 2015 have since decided to immunise.
Social Services Minister Christian Porter said 5738 Australian children whose parents had previously been listed as vaccination objectors had been immunised.
More than 148,000 children who had not been up to date with their vaccinations had also met the requirements.
North Coast turn around
Soon after the policy implementation this year, North Coast GP Dr Sue Page said she contacted a number of GPs across the Northern Rivers to see what their vaccination rates had been like since the Federal Government's No Jab No Pay policy came into effect.
"Every practice that I rang said they were experiencing a significant increase in the number of people coming through and requesting catch-up vaccinations," she said.
2014-2015 North Coast report
The National Health Performance Authority's Healthy Communities report showed only 89.2% of five-year-olds have been immunised on the North Coast, compared with 95.6% in Murrumbidgee, which had the highest rates of vaccination.
That figure plummeted to just 46.7% in the Mullumbimby postcode, 61.1% in Byron Bay and 67.2% in Ocean Shores for 2014-15.