Punishing families not the way to boost vaccination rates
In Australian Medicine this week, Dr Brian Morton, Chair of the AMA Council of General Practice, argues against recent calls in the media for the Government to deny conscientious objectors the Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement. He states that the AMA does not believe that denying parents financial assistance for raising a family is the right approach to improving childhood immunisation rates.
He points out that the majority of children who are not immunised are not of parents registered as conscientious objectors, highlighting that there must be other factors restricting parents from fully protecting their children against preventable disease.
He says the AMA is right behind the proposed introduction of nationally-consistent requirements for immunisation documentation to be a compulsory aspect of school and preschool enrolment. Measures such as this enable the identification of children who are not fully immunised, and provide the opportunity to refer them on for a program of catch-up vaccinations.