In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the discredited theory that vaccines cause autism.
In Australia, Matthew Raggatt reports at The Sydney Morning Herald:
The rate of recorded conscientious objectors has fallen to three-year lows as vaccine law changes which will strip hundreds of Canberra parents of federal payments worth thousands of dollars take effect from January 1.
The extension to the federal government's "no jab, no pay" policy has been welcomed by the ACT chief health officer but condemned as draconian by parents who have reported negative reactions to vaccines.
The changes mean those with a conscientious, including religious, objection to having their children vaccinated will no longer be eligible for the child care benefit, child care rebate or the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement.
The benefits are worth an estimated $7000 per family on average each year for those with young children.
There are some, such as very small babies, who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons.
It is these innocent people who don't have a choice that are placed at greater risk of avoidable illness due to the unjustified stance taken by some.
It is both shameful and appalling that leading Republican Party candidate Donald Trump recently reignited the disproved autism/vaccination link in front of a televised audience of 23 million people.
While not all registered contentious objectors object because of this myth, it is still a concern that the fears around vaccination prevent children from being protected from preventable deadly diseases.
The government should be congratulated for getting tough on the objectors through the new policy.