Newsletter 74 Freedom of Choice in Vaccination Rallies Australia
On Sunday 21 June 2015 thousands of Australians took to the streets to protest the changes to the government's new childcare package. This package is removing informed consent to vaccination for those who receive welfare payments. To receive welfare benefits parents will not be able to choose how many vaccines they use in their children. If this legislation is accepted parents will be required to 'fully'vaccinate their children to receive benefits of about $15,000. Only medical exemptions will apply to choose not to use any of the 12 vaccines now recommended for infants under 1. The government is continually adding vaccines to this schedule and as of 1 January 2016 religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccination will not be accepted.
Yet the removal of these exemptions has not been debated in the mainstream Australian media and the protests on Sunday 21 June were not publicised in the mainstream media. Informed consent to vaccination is not just being removed for families who need welfare benefits but for professionals in many areas of employment. The removal of informed consent to vaccination affects everyone - pro, selective and anti-vaxers - because it is a fundamental human right to choose what we put into our bodies. These policies also discriminate against healthy people.
This policy proposal breaches the code of conduct for Australian medical practitioners. The code states "I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties even under threat' (AMA 2006). The human right to informed consent is protected in the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). This covenant protects our right to privacy which includes 'the right to personal autonomy and physical and psychological integrity over our own bodies' (22nd Report of Australia's 44th Parliament, ch.1 p.105). The ICESCR also prohibits discriminatory social welfare policies (ch.1 p.58).
When I presented this information to the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson, he replied “no-one is being forced to take a vaccine, therefore there is no human rights violation”.
Yet the Australian Immunisation Handbook (2.1.3) states vaccinations "must be given voluntarily in the absence of undue pressure, coercion and manipulation” and that "information on the risks and benefits of each vaccine, including what adverse events are possible, how common they are and what they should do about them." Parents are not informed of the frequency of adverse events because this information is unknown (CDC VAERS).
Providing financial incentives to parents who cannot afford to work without childcare, is a coercive and manipulative strategy that pressures parents to use all the vaccines that the government is recommending – including new ones that are continually added to the schedule. Insisting that employees are fully vaccinated and threatening their job is also coercive and against the medical code of conduct. Particularly as no evidence has been provided for the necessity of this policy.
It appears that the Australian HRC will not defend these human rights covered in the ICESCR so it is up to the Australian public to take a stand on this issue and insist that the Australian media presents this debate. Please read the letter below to the Australian Prime Minister.