No Jab, No Pay vaccination rules
The Federal Government’s ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy is now in full swing, meaning families could miss out on payments if their kids aren’t vaccinated.
The policy was introduced in a bid to lift vaccination rates and help reduce the spread of potentially dangerous preventable diseases like whooping cough and measles.
Under the new rules, children of all ages need to be fully vaccinated (or on a catch-up schedule) for their families to receive the Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement.
The conscientious objector exemption has also been removed.
Health Department figures show the number of children who haven’t been vaccinated because of a conscientious objection has been steadily increasing.
In 1999 more than 4,000 children (0.23%) were in that category, in 2014 the number was 39,523 (1.77%).
To meet the immunisation requirements, children and teenagers need to be up to date with their immunisations according to the vaccination schedule, or have a medical exemption.
Is your child up-to-date?
The Immunisation Register is updated by vaccination providers (such as GPs) and tracks vaccinations given to children and teenagers under the age of 20.
Parents and children aged over 14 can check the register online through their Medicare account or the Express Plus Medicare app.
The register is checked electronically by the government.
You can also download the free VacciDate app to get reminders when each vaccination is due and keep immunisation records for all the children in your family.
How to catch up
If you’re worried your child has missed out on some vaccines – or has fallen behind – you can speak with a general practitioner to organise a catch-up plan.
Children under the age of ten can be vaccinated for free and from the 1st January 2016 the government will also subsidise vaccinations for children aged over 10.
Centrelink will send parents a letter if their child is eligible.
If there is a medical reason why a child can’t be fully immunised, a doctor can submit a medical exemption form to the Immunisation Register.
The families of children and teenagers who were vaccinated overseas need to take evidence to their doctor who can update the Immunisation Register.
How to prepare
Firstly have a look at the Immunisation schedule here. and check out the web links we have provided above. Your GP is the expert and you should talk to them about vaccinations and write down any questions you have. They are trained and educated in understand vaccinations and being able to provide you with educated and qualified answers. Babies get a red health book at birth so make sure you take that along with you. If you are yet to have your baby then you will receive this in the hospital. If you misplace yours ask for a print out of the vaccination when it is done. Otherwise they will simply stamp and make a note in the red book.
A mothers view of the day of immunisation
Your GP’s or Paediatrician’s advice is the only advice you should be taking when it comes to immunisation.
This is simply a story of how it happened for me with 3 kids. It may be different in your doctors and you will see I have provided some other examples where I can, but hopefully if you are a new parent you can read this and get some semblance of what actually happens and peace of mind if you are concerned. It is not to say it won’t be a different experience for you or you won’t choose a different way of doing it, but this was how it happened for me. At the time of writing this I have a 4, 6 and 8 year old. It should go without saying that mine are all immunised.
How you approach the day of immunisation really depends on you as a parent and in some cases the child. A baby may have no idea what is happening and so a comforter or bottle might be all that is needed. For toddlers you might like to wait until the moment of vaccination (which I did with my 4 year old) or give them notice with promise of a treat (which is what my best friend did with her 4 year old). She also explained it was to stop her getting sick. I told my 4 year old this after the needle when she was upset about it. Whatever works for you is best. There is no right or wrong here. I chose not to tell my child before hand because Summer is very strong minded and I was worried I wouldn’t get her in there. All my kids have reacted in different ways pain wise. Some haven’t flinched or even noticed, others have screamed and one told me he hated me. It’s fine. It’s not enjoyable but it is over very quickly and it is just a prick that could save their life.
I have had friends who have used numbing cream and Panadol, as well as various distraction methods.
The best advice is to ask the advice from your paediatrician or GP if you are worried..
Sometimes immunisations will begin with measurements because they also tie in with progression in your red birth book or for your 4 year old progress check up. Ideally this will all be done first. The vaccination in my experience has happened after the measurements for each child. From experience you will generally be asked to hold your child firmly on your lap in place. This is just to ensure they are safe and also provides an ideal opportunity for you to comfort them. It really is over very quickly. THAT’S IT.
Sometimes you might be asked to hang around for 30 minutes OR if you want to you can! If you are worried and you want to just hang in the waiting room then ask. Whatever you need to make yourself ok about it- do that. we have always hung around for a bit, for one of my children who had a severe reaction on one of his first. None of my other kids have reacted aside from some redness in the area of the vaccination. Like I have said, this is just my experience and it may be different for you and you should always seek the advice and guidance of your GP.