Sunday, May 11, 2008

Vaccine opt-out penalty

News from the BBC website this morning talks of a call by the Fabians and a Labour MP to impose fines on children who do not have vaccines.

They are suggesting the children should have to prove they are vaccinated before they start school and that child benefit is linked to vaccinations.

Surely this breaks a whole host of ethical and moral codes. Child benefit is a life line for poorer families and reducing this will simply increase child poverty, penalising children for the actions of their parents. Immumisation rates for MMR are lower in more affluent areas, where reductions in child benefit will make no difference anyway. So we have a policy that discriminates against the poor and against children.

And as for denying children the right to education - this is a human right, not a right based on some medical intervention. What next? Children excluded from school if they are not electronically tagged? Parents filmed by over 300 CCTV cameras each day... oh they already are!

Effective levels of vaccination are one of the key planks in improving public health, but should be achieved through good clinical evidence, persuasion and trust not fines, discrimination and infringements of human rights.


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