Article by Australian Doctor (behind paywall). Full text copied immediately below.
Mandatory vaccination doesn’t even work, review shows
Mandatory vaccination strategies have unintended consequences and don’t guarantee improvement in vaccination rates, according to an international review by infectious diseases experts.
The evidence either for or against mandatory childhood vaccination measures is meagre across the globe, the researchers say.
The authors, including Associate Professor Julie Leask from the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS) in Sydney, say careful thought needs to be given as to whether such mandates are really necessary.
They point to the “modest gain” of 1.75% in vaccine coverage among Australian five-year-olds three years after the ‘no jab, no pay’ law was introduced, and question whether the resulting financial hardship experienced by vulnerable and low-income families is justified.
Other, softer interventions may be more effective and less intrusive, they say, calling the Australian legislation one of the most rigid mandatory vaccination programs in the world.
“The unintended consequences of mandatory immunisation in Australia needs further analysis, and similar justice and equity problems need to be searched for in other high-income settings to determine if similar consequences are being suffered elsewhere,” they write.
Globally there has not been a standard approach to implementing mandatory immunisation strategies, they say.
Notably, these measures have failed to impact the target vaccine-hesitant group, they add.
They note that after non-medical exemptions from vaccination were banned in Australia and California, there was a disturbing rise in medical exemptions.
“This suggests a ‘gaming’ of the system, which is concerning, and a failure to impact the target group, which is disappointing,” they write.
They conclude that there is no strong evidence of a difference in vaccination rates between countries that just recommend specific vaccinations and countries that mandate them.