CARROTS and education, not threats, should be used by governments to improve vaccination rates, according to the spokesman for the Australian Medical Association on the Sunshine Coast, Doctor Wayne Herdy.
The personal comments from Dr Herdy come as Social Services Minister Scott Morrison confirmed over the weekend that the Abbott Government was reviewing loopholes that allow people to opt out of vaccinating their children yet retain the right to claim family tax benefits and childcare payments.
- PLENTY OF WHOOPING COUGH VACCINE DESPITE SHORTAGE CLAIMS
- NEARLY HALF OF COAST SCHOOL CHILDREN ARE NOT VACCINATED
- KIDS MAY BE REJECTED FROM QUEENSLAND CHILDCARE IF NOT VACCINATED
The loopholes allow conscientious objection to vaccination on the grounds of personal, philosophical, religious or medical belief.
Parents can opt out of vaccination and still retain access to benefits.
Labor wants exemption to be narrowed to just religious objectors.
While the Sunshine Coast has the lowest vaccination rate in Australia, Dr Herdy said doctors were ambivalent about a proscriptive approach from government.
The region's low vaccination rate increased the likelihood of epidemics across a wide range of infections including the potentially deadly whooping cough as well as measles, mumps, chickenpox and rubella.
Do you agree parents should vaccinate their kids in order to get govt payments?
This poll ended on 24 April 2015.
Yes, it's the only way some parents will wake up and protect their kids and others
No, why should the government control how we raise our children
I don't care either way, I don't have children so I don't get the payments
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"On the one hand as a whole we are strongly supportive of gaining the highest levels of vaccination as could be achieved.
"Conscientious objection is often based on either poor science or irrational belief."
He said the refusal to vaccinate was often based on junk science and had the potential to have real impacts on those who made the right choice.
Labor leader Bill Shorten has told Nine's Weekend Today his party believed unless someone had a deeply-held religious view there should be no exception and children should be vaccinated.
Mr Morrison has confirmed the government is examining ways to tighten the existing loopholes.
"The Government is reviewing the current exemptions on vaccinations that apply to family tax benefit payments and child care subsidies as part of the families package to be delivered this year," he told News Corp.
Dr Herdy has urged the government to bolster rates through education to encourage parents to act rather than sticks to force them.
"The Sunshine Coast has a large vocal minority (against immunisation) and I defend their right to hold those views," he said.
"But they are believing junk science not real science and there appears no persuading them with reality."
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