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Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Australia to deny benefits to parents refusing to vaccinate children
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sunday his nation will adopt a "no jab, no pay" policy to block parents who refuse to vaccinate their children from accessing some government benefits.
The policy change comes amid a debate over immunisation for children, with some parents believing vaccines against deadly diseases are dangerous.
The anti-vaccination movement has coincided with the resurgence of measles, a preventable disease, in some European countries as well as in parts of the United States.
"It's essentially a 'no jab, no pay' policy from this government," Abbott told reporters in Sydney.
"It's a very important public health announcement. It's a very important measure to keep our children and our families as safe as possible."
Under current Australian laws, parents who have "conscientious objections" about immunisation can claim childcare and welfare payments.
If the measures are passed those parents would be denied the payments -- which include childcare rebates, benefits and family tax benefit supplements -- reportedly missing out on up to Aus$15,000 (US$11,500) per child annually.
Parents unwilling to vaccinate their children on medical or religious grounds will still be allowed to tap into the benefits, although under tighter eligibility requirements.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said there were no mainstream religions that had registered vaccination objections with the government. msn