The Australian government has beefed up its already relatively strong vaccination laws in a bid to push inoculation rates up to record highs around the country.
According to a statement by MP Dan Tehan, the Minister for Social Services, as of July 1, parents who don’t vaccinate their children will lose part of their biweekly support payments.
Those receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A payments – available to families earning around $59,100 USD – will lose $21 USD every two weeks for each child not up to date with their required vaccinations.
“Immunization is the safest way to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases,” Tehan explained. “Parents who don’t immunize their children are putting their own kids at risk as well as the children of other people.”
Vaccination policies vary all around the world, both across and within nations. In the US, for example, it’s mandatory for children to receive a suite of vaccinations or else they won’t be allowed to go to school.
There are exemptions for those with legitimate medical issues, which is why it’s important for everyone else to get vaccinated. Thanks to the principle of herd immunity, if everyone else is vaccinated, they remain insulated from the disease in question. There are, sadly, exemptions for personal, religious, and philosophical reasons, which as you might imagine are applied for – and granted – at a disgraceful rate.
Anti-vaxxers have infested the Southern Hemisphere too, so some Australian parents who are fundamentally opposed to the idea of vaccines will likely take the financial hit. Hopefully, though, this pushes vaccination rates up: The desert nation has had some success with its increasingly strict vaccination laws in the past.
Back in 2015, the government terminated religious exemptions for vaccinations. Various Australian states also began to abide by a “No Jab, No Play” policy, which bars unvaccinated children from attending educational centers and daycare. They also have banned exemptions for those who object to vaccinations on a moral or philosophical level.
In 2016, the country introduced its “No Jab, No Pay” policy, which meant that the parents of unvaccinated kids would lose a child benefit payment supplement, about $544 USD, at the year’s end.
Parents who refuse to immunise their children will begin paying for the choice from today. The government will slash fortnightly family payments by $28 per un-vaccinated child as part of their no jab, no pay policy.#7News pic.twitter.com/9VnbOnwuYX
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) July 1, 2018
Consequently, 246,000 more children were vaccinated, and the immunization rate in the country crept up to 92.2 percent. This is despite the fact that the anti-vaxxer movement remains a clear and present threat. As ABC News reported back in February, anti-vaxxers in Queensland and elsewhere set up their own social services in order to partly get around current laws.
This latest government initiative is an alteration of the No Jab, No Pay laws; a switch to a biweekly reduction instead of an end-of-year penalty. According to Tehan, this scheme will provide “a constant reminder for parents to keep their children’s immunization up to date.”
In other vaccine news, a recent Stanford cancer study that cured 97 percent of mice from tumors has now moved on to searching for human volunteers to participate in a cutting-edge medical trial.
The trial is part of a gathering wave of research into immunotherapy, a type of treatment that fights cancer by using the body’s immune system to attack tumors.
The researchers believe the local application of very small amounts of the agents could serve as a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with bodywide immune stimulation.
“When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” said Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology. “This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells.”
The treatment is not a true vaccine that creates lasting immunity, but it does feature a vaccine-like injection carrying two immune stimulators that activate the immune system’s T cells to eliminate tumors throughout the body.
Each test subject receives a low dose of radiation plus two rounds of the injected agents, Levy said. No chemotherapy is involved.
The treatment does not work on all types of cancer, Levy said, because each type of cancer has a different set of rules regarding how it can be affected by the immune system.
For the current trials, he is only looking for people with low-grade lymphoma regardless if they have been previously treated. He said Stanford is planning on running two trials by the end of the year with a total of about 35 test subjects.
“The two drugs we are injecting are made by two different companies and have already been proven safe for people,” Levy said. “It’s the combination we are testing.”
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
July 9th, 2018