Learning the hard way

Stuff reports:

A Canadian mother-of-seven has been forced to rethink her anti-vaccination stance – after all her children fell sick with whooping cough.

North America has seen a growing number of families opt out of immunisation programmes, frequently because they are concerned about side-effects, despite warnings that deadly childhood diseases such as measles are on the rise.

Tara Hills and her husband decided to stop vaccinating their children six years ago after losing faith in the health care system, according to a blog post in which she described the family’s experience. …

Mrs Hills admitted she had recently begun to rethink her stance, as the number of measles outbreaks began to grow.

Now with her six sons and a daughter, aged from 10 years to 10 months in quarantine at their home in Ottawa, she said she was doing her best to get them all up to date with their . She added that any parents with doubts should be able to find good, reliable data about the benefits.

“I am not looking forward to any gloating or shame as this ‘defection’ from the antivaxx camp goes public, but this isn’t a popularity contest. Right now my family is living the consequences of misinformation and fear,” she said.

Indeed. A hard lesson to learn.

Meanwhile in Australia:

Parents who are “conscientious objectors” to childhood vaccination will have their childcare and family tax payments stopped from 1 January next year as the federal government attempts to crack down on the anti-vaccination movement.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Sunday a loophole would be closed to stop payments to parents worth up to $15,000 per child.

“Parents who vaccinate their children should have confidence that they can take their children to childcare without the fear that their children will be at risk of contracting a serious or potentially life-threatening illness because of the conscientious objections of others,” Mr Abbott said.

Although Australia’s overall childhood vaccination rates remain high – about 97 per cent – the numbers of people who are registered conscientious objectors has risen in the past 10 years.

There are now 39,000 children aged under seven who are not vaccinated because their parents are registered, according to the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register. 

This is an increase of more than 24,000 children over the past 10 years.

“The Government is extremely concerned at the risk this poses to other young children and the broader community,” Mr Abbott said.

“The choice made by families not to immunise their children is not supported by public policy or medical research nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of child care payments.”

Should NZ do the same here? You can choose not to vaccinate, but the taxpayer can choose not to give you money through Working for Families?

Opposition leader Bill Shorten backed the change.

“Labor supports promoting the safety of our children,” Mr Shorten said on Sunday.

“We believe fundamentally in the science of vaccination.”

Bipartisan support in Australia

However, not going to happen in NZ according to the PM.

I don’t support compulsion, but I do support people being responsible for consequences from their decisions. In an ideal world if someone chooses not to vaccinate their kids, and they infect other kids, then the parents should be liable for the health costs they have imposed on others.

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