Mandatory Vaccination in Australia is a Human Rights Issue
Whilst the Australian Government states ‘vaccination in Australia is not compulsory’ the government is using financial incentives (coercion) and employment to remove the ‘free choice’ of Australians to use vaccines. There are requirements in place in some Australian workplaces that mandate recommended vaccines for individuals to be employed in these institutions. The Government has also linked $2,100 in welfare benefits to parents who ‘fully vaccinate’ their children. This requires 11 vaccines (24 doses) in the first year of an infant’s life when their body systems are still developing. If parents choose not to vaccinate or to selectively vaccinate, they are required to get a conscientious objector’s form signed by their doctor to claim this welfare benefit. In some states, this is also needed for enrolment in childcare centres. However, doctors are being told by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) that they are not legally obliged to sign these forms. Yet the Australian Government states (22nd April 2013):
‘…there is nothing in any of these (Health) Acts or in regulations or legislative instruments under them, which compels a person to accept administration of the vaccines provided’
So why are health professionals and students in health courses being informed they may lose their jobs or degrees in Australia if they do not vaccinate? And why is a welfare benefit of $2,100 being linked to the need for a doctor’s signature (and “fully” vaccinating your child) if there are no regulations in the government Health Act to make this medical procedure compulsory? This is removing our rights in a discriminatory manner and this is occurring in Australia even though the government states that vaccination is not compulsory. Our right to freely choose vaccines needs to be a protected attribute in the a Human Rights and Anti-discrimination Bill. This is necessary because the public is accepting vaccines without being informed of the ingredients of vaccines or fully informed about the way vaccines are tested and monitored.
The book – Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed Biased Science and Coercive Governments Threaten our Human Rights, Our Health and Our Children’ demonstrates the global concern that exists regarding governments removing our human right to bodily integrity without providing evidence for the necessity for doing so. It also discusses the protection that has been given to the pharmaceutical industry by removing all liability from pharmaceutical companies for any harm that is caused by a vaccine. This is why the US set up a Vaccine Injury Compensation Scheme in 1986 that has now paid out billions of dollars to thousands of vaccine damaged children. However, most countries do not have a vaccine injury compensation scheme and there is no compensation for most vaccine damaged children. Here is a link to the experimental nature of vaccines.
The injection of substances into the human body is an individual’s choice and if people are being refused jobs, welfare benefits or places in schools then this discrimination is infringing on our human right to choose what we inject into our own bodies – our right to bodily integrity. The current Health Act does not have ‘regulations or legislation’ to compel anyone to accept vaccines and the current discrimination in Australia on the basis of vaccination status is unlawful. A clause needs to be included in a Human Rights and Anti-discrimination bill to ensure that our right to choose a medical procedure in public health policies is protected. Here is a link to the letters I have written to the Australian Government and Human Rights Commission about vaccination policies.
Protest against the Australian Governments new social welfare legislation proposed for January 2016. This is a human rights issue and not a pro- or anti-vaccination debate. The government’s new social welfare policy breaches the Nuremberg Code (1948) and the Geneva Declaration (Physician’s oath) that are adopted in the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Code of Ethics. It also violates the International Covenant on Economic and Cultural and Social Rights ICECSR Please take a stand to protect our human rights by attending the protest in your capital city on September 20 2015. Here is a link to the promotion for the Event Flyer.
The Australian Human Rights Commission
The Australian government’s new childcare package is removing the right of many Australians to free and informed consent to vaccination. For Australians who rely on government welfare payments they will be required to have all the recommended vaccines (12 for infants) in order to receive government childcare and family welfare benefits. This is a breach of free and informed consent to a medical intervention that is covered in the code of conduct for good medical practice and also in the International Covenant for Economic, Cultural and Social Rights (ICECSR). This covenant prohibits discriminatory welfare policies and the removal of autonomy over our own bodies. These rights are also covered in the Geneva Declaration and the Nuremberg Code.
I have presented this information to the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson, and he has stated that “no-one is being forced to take a vaccine, therefore there is no human rights violation”. It appears that the Australian Human Rights Commission is not going to protect these rights that are covered in many international human rights covenants.
Vaccines are a medical intervention for healthy people that are recommended by the government in public health policies. In Australia the public is not informed of the ingredients (components) of vaccines yet the government is using financial incentives and work placements to encourage the uptake of multiple vaccines (coercive measures). Using a drug in healthy people is a different risk assessment to using a drug in sick people. All drugs have side-effects and US law describes vaccines as ‘unavoidably unsafe’. In addition, the public has a right to be fully informed about medical procedures (particularly for healthy people) before the drugs are administered. This right was implemented in the Nuremberg Code and later stated in the International Bill of Human Rights that applies to all countries. It states:
‘An intervention in the health field may only be carried out after the person concerned has given free and informed consent to it‘.
Yet this principle is currently not protected in government public health policies.
The right for healthy individuals to choose to use a medical procedure without financial pressure from governments is a fundamental human right that is enshrined in the right to bodily integrity. Yet the Australian Government is using coercion in the workplace and with financial incentives to insist on the uptake of vaccines. Vaccination is a medical procedure that requires the injection of substances into the human body and each year the government expands the number of vaccines that it recommends. It is important that parents are informed of the multiple ingredients of vaccines and to know that these ingredients are injected directly into the tissues of infants whose organ systems are still developing and by-passing all the body’s natural defense mechanisms.
Australian Government policies are now resulting in discrimination against healthy individuals in the workplace and schools, and court cases are ruling in favour of vaccinating on the basis of current beliefs about vaccination even though vaccination in Australia is NOT compulsory. Vaccination is not in the best interests of many children due to their individual genetics and this is verified by the billions of dollars in compensation that is paid out to families in America each year. This tragedy is compounded by the fact that Australia, like many other countries, does not have a compensation scheme to support Australian families harmed by vaccines.
In 2013 the Human Rights Commission was holding an inquiry to consolidate the human rights and anti-discrimination acts into one document. I made a submission to this Senate Inquiry that was accepted and published on the government website. Here is the link to the submission that I made to this inquiry: The Australian Government’s Vaccination Policies and the Discrimination against Healthy Individuals in Schools and the Workplace.
However, the public was informed that our human rights in vaccination policy and the discrimination that is occurring in Australia was not covered in the scope of this draft Human Rights and Anti-discrimination bill (HRAD). Yet the Health Act was included in this bill and my submission on vaccination (and the need to protect bodily integrity with an amendment to this bill) was accepted and published by the Committee for the Senate Inquiry. This bill did not get passed in 2013 and the government still has not answered the public’s concerns about coercive vaccination policies and the protection of bodily integrity.
The use of financial incentives of $2,100 and childcare places to encourage parents to vaccinate (with 11 vaccines before children are 1 year of age) is unethical. In Australia parents are required to visit a doctor and get a doctor’s signature if they wish to refuse vaccines and still receive the government parental welfare benefit. Doctors have been informed that they do not have to sign these refusal forms by the AMA even though they are linked to government welfare benefits. In addition, healthcare workers are being limited in their job prospects if they refuse to update with a vaccine.
If you are a health worker who would like to refuse vaccines without losing your job here is a link to information that discusses this issue.
Gillian Trigg, president of the Human Rights Commission states that ‘all comparable common law countries have human rights acts and Australia is at risk of being isolated from legal protections taken for granted in Britain, Canada, New Zealand (The Australian 25th February 2013).
Framing the Debate on Vaccination
The Australian Government is providing selective information on its website to frame the benefits and risks of vaccines in a particular way. This information needs to be debated. Whilst ever there is a lack of consensus on the science in a public health policy it is unethical to use coercive or mandatory strategies to enforce a medical procedure. I have presented here a discussion of the terminology that the government is using to frame vaccination policies to the public. The government also promotes vaccines on the basis that they protect communities by creating herd immunity. There are many reasons why vaccines may not create herd immunity and communities are being protected by natural herd immunity created by sub-clinical and mild infections.
If there is no consensus on the effectiveness and safety of vaccines and their ability to create herd immunity then coercive vaccination can have serious harmful consequences for population health.
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- JUDY WILYMAN