Earlier this week we wrote about Australia s proposed no jab, no pay policy in which Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that those who do not vaccinate their children will be denied child welfare benefits. The story has caused quite a stir in global politics and we asked for you, our readers, to weigh in with your opinions. Here are some of your thoughts.
The vast majority of readers were in favor of the initiative, with over 60% of responses in favor of no jab, no pay. Furthermore, several of you indicated a hope that America would adopt a similar policy. I think the Aussies have a winner. Hope for us to do the same, wrote one reader while another added I support action that would motivate parents to have their children vaccinated. Several readers responded with a simple, yet succinct Yes! Another reader indicated that no jab, no pay may not go far enough, adding that it should extend to all forms of public service. The restriction of public services was a point a lot of you made, with keeping the children of anti-vaxxers out of public schools a popular suggestion.
A few readers suggested that vaccines are so essential that to opt out for a non-medical reason should be considered criminal. I feel this is a crime and if a penalty will promote compliance, then that is all to the good read one comment, while another insisted that parents who don't provide their children with proper medical care, for whatever absurd reason, are guilty of neglect and should be visited by CPS, while another echoed that sentiment stating that he agreed on penalties and suggest reporting to child welfare authorities.
However, not all the positive responses were as strong as those mentioned above. One responder mentioned that the anti-vaxx movement is very diverse both politically and economically and it may be unfair to target just one sect of the movement. Another wondered if the policy should only apply in cases of very serious communicable diseases. One respondent also mentioned that if America were to adopt this policy it should make sure the punishment fits the crime, pointing out that the $15,000 in lost benefits is ludicrous. He, as well as a few other responders, point out that having non-vaxxers pay for any medical expenses incurred while handling an outbreak that was perpetuated by unvaccinated children might be fairer.
The negative respondents focused mainly on a fear of too much governmental control on citizens. One comment read: the very idea of "no jab, no pay" is onerous to an American. Freedom is the essence of our country, while another said The main principle is that government should never be granted the power to force vaccinate anyone.
This is certainly a gray area landing in between what is best for society and personal freedom. The way we as a society handle this problem must consider freedom as well as public health. Currently, in the US it is uniformly advised that all children who medically can get vaccinated. A reader who compared excessive alcoholism and vaccines is not far off. Few are campaigning to withhold freedoms from the casual drinker, until they cause a DWI. On the other hand, it can be argued that a parent that unleashes an unvaccinated kid on the world is committing the equivalent of a DWI (or maybe an IWU infecting while unvaccinated). One comment we received, that we should all agree on is that knowledgeable people speaking out as you so effectively do will win the day.