Study finds most Australians support mandatory vaccination
The Federal Government's strict "No Jab, No Pay" policy is well supported by the majority of Australians, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Western Australia and University of Sydney.
The research, published today in the international journal Politics, surveyed more than 1000 Australians and found 85 percent agreed with the "No Jab, No Pay" policy introduced in 2016, which made some family welfare payments contingent on their children being fully vaccinated. Nine percent of Australians disagreed with the policy.
State-based "No Jab, No Play" policies also excluded children from childcare facilities if they had not been fully vaccinated in some states. Such legislation was recently introduced into Western Australia's Parliament.
Co-author Dr. Katie Attwell, from UWA's School of Social Sciences, said Australia had some of the strictest vaccination mandates in the world.
"Childhood vaccination is becoming a contentious political issue in many wealthy democracies, despite widespread acceptance of its benefits and necessity as a public health measure," Dr. Attwell said.
"The phenomenon of 'vaccine hesitancy,' where parents worry about vaccine ingredients and safety or believe that their children might not need vaccinations because they live healthy lifestyles seems to be gaining traction in high-income countries, with a recent study finding the lowest rates of vaccine confidence are in Europe."
Dr. Attwell said following international studies that warned public opposition to vaccination mandates could undermine public support of vaccination, the researchers set out to survey Australians about their attitudes to vaccination and making them mandatory.
"In contrast to similar studies in the United States and United Kingdom, we found that support for both vaccination and mandate is very high, with no significant opposition from any political subgroup," she said.
"What was interesting was that there was strong support for vaccination among voters of all political parties, including the Greens and One Nation.
"This is important because it shows that in Australia, mandatory vaccination plays out as good politics for all parties."