Currently here in Australia there is a push to pass legislation known in the media as “No jab, no pay”. Meaning if your children are not vaccinated you will be deemed ineligible for Centrelink (social support) payments. This is causing a huge amount of debate. And, with this, Tony Abbott has managed to achieve something spectacular – People who have chosen to vaccinate and people who have chosen not to have come together to fight against a government that doesn’t believe in our right to bodily autonomy. How about that. The vaccination debate has, for the moment, ceased to be about whether vaccines are good or bad and have become about whether the government is good or bad.
I personally have chosen to (mostly) vaccinate my children and myself. But my fight for the right to bodily autonomy and informed decision making does not end at the maternity ward. I made an open and free choice to vaccinate my children based on my own experiences, knowledge and our family’s circumstances. Now the government wants to take away that right. But hang on, I hear you say – the government isn’t taking away YOUR rights…you can still choose to vaccinate. My choice is no longer about whether to vaccinate or not, but about whether to comply or not. Every single time I make a “choice” to vaccinate one of my children I will be left asking myself – did I do it because I truly believe its best? Or because I need the money? Am I really choosing to vaccinate or am I just choosing to comply with a government policy?
Next issue is that this will only affect those who are already living on or close to the poverty line. Rich people don’t need Centrelink payments and therefore these can’t be used to bribe them to “jab” their kids. So, what is the government going to do to force their compliance? Oh that’s right – we like rich people and would never dream of taking away their rights! So we are not really passing a law that will make vaccination “compulsory”, we are passing a law that will mean poor people have no right to bodily autonomy. How long until we are forcing people on Centrelink benefits to undergo forced sterilisation in order to continue to receive their benefits?
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
So without further waffle...here are my DOs and DON'Ts of vaccination conversation!
DO make raging assumptions. Those who don’t vaccinate must be “dirty”. Those who do are only interested in fitting in.
DON’T forget the insults. Murderers for the non vaccinators – because we all know that the only reason anyone would ever choose not to vaccinate is because they want to use their body as a weapon, carrying disease and disaster to the young and immune compromised. Sheeple for those who do vaccinate – because if you choose to vaccinate there is no possible way it was an informed decision. You’re just interested in following the crowd.
DO make sure that everyone knows that the choice that you made is the best choice possible, not just for you but for everybody. After all…everyone’s situation is the same and we should all do the same thing. Making health care decisions based on individual health and personal circumstances, rather than a government policy, is BAD!
DON’T believe that other people can make informed decisions. If they come to different conclusions to you they are just wrong. It’s not possible for two people to be informed but hold different views. EVER!
DO take your sick child out in public or send them to daycare / school and make sure everyone knows that “he doesn’t have anything serious. He’s vaccinated!” Because every “nasty” disease is vaccinated against and all vaccines are 100% effective. Plus your kid is "clean".
DON’T learn anything about vaccines or the illnesses they are supposed to prevent. Learning is bad. Questioning is bad. Good parents rock up, do as they’re told and let other people take responsibility for the health care decisions of their family. We all know that the government just has everyone’s best interests at heart and would NEVER do anything that wasn’t for every single person’s benefit.
DO link any restrictions on bodily autonomy to Centrelink payments. Poor people don’t contribute to political party campaigns so their rights are kind of irrelevant. If you want your human rights respected go out and earn enough money to contribute to a political party. That shit don’t come for free!
DON’T worry about adult vaccination. They're called "childhood diseases" for a reason!
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Sound like a familiar conversation? Yep...I'd say that I'm really tired of this particular conversation. Back and forth, back and forth. Murderer, sheeple, idiot, neglectful, poisoner, child abuse. Measles didn't manage to wipe us all off the face of the earth prior to vaccination ever being introduced...I doubt that it will achieve that now (because the antibiotic resistant bacteria that we have created are going to do it first!) so how about we all get a grip and change the conversation?
DO respect that every single parent, as far as you know, is doing the absolute best that they can for their child. Just because they don’t do the same things as you doesn’t mean that it’s not best for them.
DON’T assume that others have access to the same information as you or that they have interpreted the information in the same way. Two people can come to different conclusions from the same information.
DO take responsibility for your family’s health and well being. Do your research, ask questions, learn all you can. YOU are responsible for the decision that you make and the outcomes associated with it. What potential outcomes parents are comfortable with will vary depending on life experience, culture, values, beliefs etc.
DON’T forget that a government that takes away the rights of others will soon come to collect yours. Are you ready to hand them over?
There have been hundreds of things we have not had the "right" to do for centuries. It's called civilisation. Is it your "right" not to stop at a red light if you don't feel like it? Is it your "right" not to pay taxes if you don't feel like it?