The Federal Government plans to double GP incentives to boost flagging vaccination rates among Australian children.
In addition, the Government has announced religious exemption will no longer be accepted as a reason not to vaccinate children.
These changes follow hot-on-the-heels of the government’s recent refusal to provide family tax benefits to parents claiming “conscientious objection” to vaccination.
The AUD $26 million boost will fund the development of a national vaccination register, a GP-driven communication campaign, and an increase in GP incentives, from $6 to $12 to vaccinate overdue children.
According to Federal Health Minister, The Hon. Susan Ley MP, last year more than 166,000 children were two months’ overdue for their next vaccination, in addition to our nation’s 39,000 “conscientious objectors.”
“There is an incentive to get vaccinations happening, being two months overdue is late, and it’s time to remind somebody to come in and get vaccinated with their children.
“It is important parents understand complacency presents as much of a threat to immunisation rates and the safety of our children, as conscientious objections do,” said Minister Ley.
Christian Scientists, previously the only religious group exempt from vaccination, will no longer be able to claim religious objection.
Federal Social Services Minister, The Hon. Scott Morrison MP cited the government no longer considered the exemption as current, and therefore chose to scrap it.
“While parents have the right to decide not to vaccinate their children, if they are doing so as a vaccination objector, they are no longer eligible for assistance from the Australian Government,” said Minister Morrison.
The religious exemption will commence January 1, 2016.