A new federal government policy in Australia will announce this May that families could lose up to $15,000 AUD (the equivalency of $11,400 U.S.) in tax and child care benefits per year, starting January 1, 2016, if their children are not vaccinated.
Last March, a four-week-old baby in Perth died of whooping cough and there are rising concerns of whooping cough outbreaks in small communities with many unvaccinated children. Fear of more child deaths provided the government the impetus to amend its objective on their vaccination policy by removing the “conscientious objector” category, which would normally allow parents to not vaccinate their children and still remain eligible for full welfare benefits.
“We’ve got to think about the health and wellbeing of all the children that are put at risk…it’s their health that also matters,” said Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.
While public response to this announcement has been well received, Professor Raina MacIntyre, head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales, suggests this policy is unlikely to change the views of obstinate anti-vaxxers.
Parents will still be allowed to deny their children vaccinations on medical and religious grounds without financial penalty – if they can provide convincing evidence. Parents who decide to claim a religious exemption will have to register with their ‘local’ church but the majority of well known religious groups do not prohibit vaccinations.
The number of children under the age of seven who are not vaccinated has increased from 15,000 to 39,000 in the last ten years.
Babies, who are too young to receive vaccinations or have not had a chance to build their immunity, often get the disease from a family member who is not vaccinated or failed to stay current with booster shots.
Parents who will not vaccinate their children continue to threaten other people, especially children with compromised immune systems who cannot be vaccinated and consequently, dependent on herd immunity for their defence.
Senate Bill 277, which limits religious and personal belief waivers for vaccinations and prevents parents from sending their unvaccinated children to school, was recently introduced to the legislative council by Senator Richard Pan, D-Sacramento and Senator Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, who co-authored the bill.
Senator Richard Pan is a paediatrician and continues to practice medicine at The Effort Oak Park Community Clinic.
During a testimonial at the U.S. Senate Education Committee, Carl Krawitt told lawmakers that his six-year-old son Rhett is suffering from leukemia and that he feared for his son's life during the measles outbreak because he could not be vaccinated while receiving treatment. His family has already shouldered the financial and emotional strains of a child with cancer.
"We're here for the community…you have a duty to legislate from solid evidence, not from fear, and keep our schools safe," said Krawitt, as reported by CNN.
The committee heard more than three hours of testimonies. Both Senators agreed to postpone a vote until a later date so they could work on revisions to address the concerns raised in the Senate Education Committee.
This was the second hearing after the Senate Health Committee advanced the measure 7-2 last week.If the law is passed, California will join Mississippi and West Virginia.
Parents Arrested for Not Providing Polio Vaccine to their Children
513 parents were arrested in and around the Northwestern city of Peshawar for denying their children vaccinations against polio.
This unprecedented act was a last ditch effort to clear polio from cluster zones where large numbers of families have refused to vaccinate their children.
According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, (a partnership that includes the World Health Organization and UNICEF), Pakistan leads all other countries in new polio cases.
Polio, a highly infectious disease that primarily affects young children, can lead to paralysis and death. Once polio is contracted there is no cure. In 2014, there were 327 children stricken with polio.
The parents that were arrested were released on bail under the proviso that they sign an affidavit stating they will get their children vaccinated.
Seven Children in One Family Get Whooping Cough
Seven children from a family in Ottawa contracted whooping cough after receiving an “alternative” vaccine treatment.
Parents openly admitted they avoided all available scientific research from reputable health organizations regarding vaccinations, stating they were “scared because the risks were too high” and therefore, did not know who to trust. They decided not to vaccinate their children and “hoped nothing bad would happen”.
On cue, they were confronted with a worrisome reality when their older children were exposed to measles. Concerned how this occurrence could affect the younger children, they decided to read scientific evidence from reputable organizations upon which they felt a strong sense of responsibility to do the right thing.
A visit to the family doctor prompted a catch-up vaccination schedule. Unfortunately, just one week later their ten-month-old son was diagnosed with whooping cough.
While in quarantine, the mother said that all her children are receiving antibiotics.
“Right now my family is living the consequences of misinformation and fear,” she wrote in her blog.
“We can’t take it back…but we can learn from this and help others the same way we have been helped.”
New Study Discredits Myth – Once Again!!
A new research study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association discredits (once again) the myth that associates the MMR vaccine with autism.
Comprised of over 93,000 children the research study concentrated on children with older siblings who have autism, or ASD (autism spectrum disorder), which would place them at a higher genetic risk of developing autism. But they “found no evidence that would suggest either 1 or 2 doses of MMR vaccination was associated with an increased risk of ASD”.
"We found that there was no harmful association between the receipt of the MMR vaccine and the development of an autism spectrum disorder," said Anjali Jain, a pediatrician at the Lewin Group, a health care consulting firm in Virginia and lead author of this study.
Vaccinations: Facts vs. Myths – CHASA
Everything You Need to Know about Measles – Washington Post
Vaccination Greatly Reduces Disease, Disability, Death and Inequity Worldwide - World Health Organization (WHO)
Review Finds Little Evidence for Childhood Vaccine Fears – University of Southern California