Make Vaccination Compulsory
I am an unapologetic campaigner for compulsory vaccination. I believe that Westerners have become too complacent and take their access to amazing scientific creations for granted. What third world mothers desperately line up for to save their child’s life, we toss aside due to our ‘beliefs’.
As we all know now, if we can read and reason logically, there is no reason not to vaccinate your child (except in special cases in which the attending professional deems it potentially harmful to the child). There is no excuse, which is why I believe there should be harsh legal consequences for parents who refuse to vaccinate due to ideological reasons. In today’s eggshell society, it is too easy to harm others under the guise of one’s philosophical, cultural or religious opinions. To question these opinions is seen as ‘offence’ or ‘intolerance’.
It is embarrassingly easy for parents to bypass vaccinations for their child. In Australia, a parent needs to complete a ‘Conscientious Objection’ form with their doctor. This is where one can assume that these are hard to come by, as the large majority of practising doctors in Australia support vaccination and would need very good (medical) reasons not to vaccinate a child. Sadly, this isn’t the case. A parent can acquire one of these forms simply by proving that they have a personal, philosophical or religious objection to having their child immunised (this has to be done before the child is 4 months old). An example of this can include having an official of their chosen religion declare in writing that immunisation is not accepted as part of their religion. How devastatingly easy is that? In the 21st century, a child can legally go without possible future lifesaving treatment because an official member of a religion wrote them a note. It sounds very much like Mum writing you a note to get out of PE.
As ridiculous as this process is, what’s worse is that the Australian government allows this, despite their clear laws regarding child abuse and neglect. According to the World Health Organisation, physical neglect ‘refers to the failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child with the conditions that are culturally acceptable as being essential for their physical and emotional development and wellbeing’. Well I’m not too sure about fellow members of my Australian culture, but I’m quite sure that pre-emptively protecting children from deadly infections such as whooping cough, measles and rubella is an accepted tradition and behaviour. Despite this, no parent shall be liable to conviction or to any penalty for neglecting or refusing to have any child vaccinated in Australia. There is no punishment or repercussions for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children for non-medically approved reasons. This directly defies the Child Care and Protection Act, which says it is an offence to neglect to provide medical aid to a child unless there is a reasonable excuse for not doing so. I certainly don’t think that ‘I read on the internet that vaccinations cause autism’ or ‘My child’s body will naturally fight any incoming infections’ are reasonable excuses, and I know that Australia’s collection of doctors and health professionals agree with me. How can the government be so lax in monitoring and fixing this growing problem? Immunisation rates are rapidly dwindling in Australia causing loss of herd immunity (for those aforementioned children who are medically unable to receive vaccinations) and even completely preventable recent whooping cough deaths are occurring.
Government intervention in the public’s lives isn’t a popular concept, but are the preventable deaths of innocent children a better option? Parents are required to feed their children to prevent starvation, to provide them with water to prevent dehydration and to provide them facilities for hygiene and cleanliness. Why is it suddenly an ideological battle and not a legal one when it comes to vaccinating children to prevent deadly infectious diseases?
[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by danielpaquet]