“NO JAB, NO JOB”
I can’t keep up. The other day I quoted “no jab, no pay” in jest. But here it is, seriously.
Coronavirus vaccine could be
tied to government payments,
Health Minister Greg Hunt
20 August, 2020
Australians who reject coronavirus vaccination could lose access to some welfare payments, Health Minister Greg Hunt has said, after the Prime Minister conceded vaccination would not be mandatory.
While the prospect of a coronavirus vaccine is not yet certain, the Government has taken steps to secure supply of a leading candidate developed at Oxford University.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said if a vaccine was discovered, the Government would consider applying measures like “no jab, no pay” to ensure a high uptake.
“It won’t be mandatory, but it will be widely encouraged,” he said.
The government will aim for a 95 per cent vaccination rate, which it said would exclude those who cannot take the shot on medical grounds.
“We are keeping on the table the existing mechanisms we have such as no jab, no pay [and] no jab, no play,” he said.
“We are one of the world’s great vaccination nations and I expect very widespread uptake.”
Mr Hunt said the existing no jab, no pay policy, which was introduced in 2015, had helped lift child immunisation rates for other diseases.
Under the policy, to be eligible for the full Family Tax Benefit A payment and the Child Care Subsidy, children need to be immunised.
Asked whether vaccination status could be linked to welfare payments, school attendance or travel, Mr Hunt said the Government reserved the right to make such moves.
“I’m confident that a very, very large numbers of Australians will take it up,” he said.
“We reserve the right, subject to medical advice, to take steps that might assist.”
Similarly, state governments in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and West Australia have no jab, no play laws, which require children to be fully vaccinated to be enrolled in childcare or kindergarten — unless they have a medical exemption.
The Federal Government yesterday announced that it had signed a letter of intent with drug company AstraZeneca, which is working with Oxford University on one of the world’s most promising vaccines.
The agreement puts Australia on track to locally manufacture doses of the vaccine, if trials in the UK are successful.
A formal agreement with AstraZeneca is expected within days, once a local manufacturer had been finalised.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday suggested a COVID-19 vaccine would be made as mandatory as the Government could make it, before walking back the remarks.
“There are no mechanisms for compulsory … I mean, we can’t hold someone down and make them take it,” he said yesterday.