The first data resulting from the Government’s ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy has shown 140,000 families have been cut from the receiving childcare benefits as well as revealing interesting geographical trends on vaccination patterns.
The policy, introduced in January 2016, states that ‘conscientiously objecting’ to vaccinations on non-medical grounds is not a valid exemption. As a result parents of 142,793 children under the age of five have been cut off from up to $15,000 in taxpayer-funded child care payments under the policy.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt told TODAY that the controversial policy had actually seen a lift of 200,000 more children being vaccinated than previous years and that he felt there was good news attached to the tough love stance.
“That’s good news but there is more to do so we’re going to keep pushing hard. It’s a tough policy because this is about public health and the safety of our beautiful kids.”
The average immunisation rate across Australia is now at over 92%. After the hard-line policy was introduced in January 2016, the government saw a resurgence in parents vaccinating their children for diseases including hepatitis, tetanus and whooping cough.
In merging geographical trends from the new data the following patterns have been noted:
In Sydney, the suburbs in the north, inner west and east recorded some of the highest rates of unvaccinated children. Further, Sydney’s eastern suburbs recorded child vaccination rates lower than Australia’s average, with only 88.9 per cent of five-year-olds vaccinated for diseases including whooping cough, measles and hepatitis.
The latest immunisation data also showed up to 20 per cent of one-year-old children in Melbourne’s centre were not vaccinated.
Brunswick Heads and Parramatta in New South Wales boasted some of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates, with an estimated 27 per cent of one-year-olds reportedly unvaccinated.
However parents in Adelaide City and the Gold Coast Hinterland were most likely to not vaccinate their children with the rate of vaccination at only 78%.
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