No Jab No Pay – new immunisation requirements for family assistance payments
GPs by now should have received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer describing catch-up vaccination arrangements, following passing of the No Jab, No Pay legislation on 23 November 2015. The letter encloses a fact sheet, No Jab, No Pay - New Immunisation Requirements for Family Assistance Payments that provides additional information, including how to plan catch-up vaccinations, changes to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, and reporting obligations.
The new legislation means that, from 1 January 2016, only families who fully immunise their children, are on a recognised vaccination catch-up schedule, or have an approved medical exemption can receive family assistance payments such as the Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate, and the Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement.
Vaccination objection will no longer be a valid exemption. Parents will maintain their right to choose whether or not to vaccinate their children. Parents will be notified by Centrelink in the coming weeks, if their child does not meet the immunisation requirements for family assistance payments. Parents will be advised to speak with their vaccination provider if their child requires catch-up vaccines.
From 1 January 2016, free vaccines will be available for children aged 10-19 years who require catch-up under this policy. Vaccines for children less than 10 years of age are free under the National Immunisation Program. The CMO’s letter also provides links to five new fact sheets on the Immunise Australia website to support conversations with vaccine hesitant parents.