There’s one big flaw in the new vaccination policy, writes Emily Jade.
The day Tony Abbott announced the No Jab, No Pay policy to tackle the rising rate of anti-vaxxers in this country, I had caught and was carrying a virus, but I didn’t know it at the time.
I’d flown to and from Sydney and had returned to work with a croaky voice.
“Are you sick?” was the concerned question I was asked by every work mate who kindly came to check in on me. “No,” I would reply, “just a big weekend catching up on me, that’s all. I’ll be fine.”
With failing vocal cords I pushed through my radio show and croakily voiced my opinion on the government’s new policy. The policy, which will kick in on January 1 2016, will see all unvaccinated families lose up to $15,000 a year in benefits.
That’s around 39,000 families and could equate to a $250 million saving. It’s not a budget measure, we were assured, but a health measure; albeit one that could also help the health of the ailing budget.
Maybe they have researched it, maybe they are taking a “jab” in the dark out of desperation, but both the government and the opposition seem to think that it will work, because it is one of the first policies they have both agreed on. Bravo for them. I applaud non-partisan decisions about our health and wellbeing.
However, while I agree that something, anything must be done, I simply don’t think taking money off people will force them to change their minds.
It’s as simple as this. As a parent, if you have made a decision, right or wrong, about what you think is healthy and safe for your child, would giving you money to do the opposite change your mind?
For me, that’s a big fat no.
I was put on this earth to protect and raise my child as healthily as I can. For me, that means vaccinating. But for others, it doesn’t, and taking money to change their mind would be hypocritical.
For example, if the government told me to feed Millie lollies for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they would give me $15,000 for the privilege, would I do it? Hell to the NO.
I know it would lead to teeth decay, malnutrition and plain old pain-in-the-butt behavior, so no thanks to your money.
If they told me to not put her in a seatbelt while driving and they’d give me $15,000, once again, no way. History has successfully proven seat belts work in most accidents, not to mention stop kids from climbing around the car distracting the driver, which is me, so I’m saving both our lives every day, So Buckle Up, Kiddo.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m assuming that anti-vaxxers have made the decision not to vaccinate their kids to save them from some perceived danger that they truly believe is real. To change their mind because of $15,000 would only expose the duplicitous ones.
As the week progressed, my voice gave way to a cough, then headaches, and then the sorest throat I’ve ever had in my life. After a trip to the doctor and the diagnosis of viral pharyngitis, (not the flu, so a vaccination would not have worked) I realised the amount of people I had come in contact with, including my family.
I went a whole week passing it off as fatigue and possibly infecting every single one. I felt terrible, but imagine if it had been whooping cough?
I don’t have to, because I’m vaccinated. But 39,000 families aren’t. The fact is money probably won’t make them change their mind.