An additional 5,700 children who would not otherwise have been vaccinated have been given their jabs this year as a result of the Government’s “no jab, no pay” policy, it says.
Under the policy, the Government withholds family assistance payments including Family Tax Benefit Part A and Child Care Benefit and Rebate from families where children are not up to do with their immunisations, unless there is a medical exemption.
According to Australian Childhood Immunisation Register data an Australian average vaccination rate of 93% has been achieved for one-year-olds, and 92.9% for five-year-olds.
Social services minister Christian Porter says that the Government is aiming for a herd immunity level of 95%.
“It’s clear that the No Jab, No Pay policy is helping to achieve this,” he says.
“I’m particularly pleased to see that large numbers of vaccination objectors are getting the message and doing the right thing by their children and their communities.”
He told the ABC that withholding family benefits was “not ideal,” but the policy was having its desired effect.
“Vaccination rates had fallen to such a historically low level, that we were seeing the re-emergence of diseases that we had been free of for years,” he told the national broadcaster.
The Minister encouraged Australians to check whether their children are up to date with their vaccinations by checking the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register. Children aged over 14 can check their own status.