Building A Federal Budget
Featured Series: Building A Federal Budget
Congress is working to approve a federal budget before the next fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.

Do Australian Financial Incentives 'Coerce' Vaccinations?

Australia's "no jab no pay" plan would withhold childcare and welfare benefits for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children.
SMS
Do Australian Financial Incentives 'Coerce' Vaccinations?

"This is essentially a no jab, no pay policy from this government," said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's government is making it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinations for their children. 

"No jab, no pay," meaning Australian parents who choose not to have their children vaccinated can lose child care and welfare benefits.

"I'm just very pro-choice. It's a very complex issue," said one woman.

"I'm not sure. I gotta tell you I can see both sides of it," another told Australia's Prime7 News.

Though they've had some time to think about it. The Australian government has been considering financial incentives for years.  (Video via Al Jazeera

A Change.org petition calls the plan coercive and manipulative, saying it puts low income families in particular in the position of not legally consenting to immunizations. 

As much as $11,000 in benefits could be at stake — unless parents register as conscientious objectors or have medical or religious reasons for choosing not to vaccinate.

Though Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has noted there are no mainstream religious groups in Australia that officially object to vaccinations. 

There is, however, apparently a small religious sect that does — and Morrison wouldn't publicly reveal its name over fears parents would convert to avoid vaccines. 

Health experts say vaccines have made diseases like polio and diphtheria rare, and that immunizations are vital for public health. Vaccines work by prompting the body to make antibodies. (Video via TED Ed)

By government estimates, 39,000 Australian children haven't been vaccinated. Parents who opt out have varying reasons. Some think shots cause autism — a theory that's been widely discredited in the scientific community.