Should the government punish anti-vaxxers?

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In ever-controversial vaccination news, Australians may lose big if they don't keep baby's records up-to-date. The country's Prime Minister Tony Abbott proposed cutting off government aid to parents who refused vaccines for their children.

If approved, the new penalties will go into place in January of next year, rendering 10 percent of Australians ineligible for government assistance and family-related tax benefits totaling $15,000 per child. The bill is aimed strategically at anti-vaxxers, a growing group of parents with a distrust in childhood vaccines. A small number of allowances may be made for families with religious objections or medical situations that deem these shots unsafe.

Just last year, Australia saw a rise in vaccine objections, which have been easy to come by till this point. Parents who wanted to skip the shot routine simply needed a form stating their religious or philosophical reasons for objecting – and voila, the government looked the other way. With nearly 90 percent of the population believing in the safety of vaccines, the country had little to worry about. But this year, they're seeing a changing tide.

With anti-vaxxers slowly growing in popularity, the Australian government faces mounting concerns about the health and safety of its children. In the Sydney Morning Herald, the Prime Minister was quoted as saying, "Parents who vaccinate their children should have confidence that they can take their children to childcare without the fear that their children will be at risk of contracting a serious or potentially life-threatening illness from others."

This move by the Australian government seems the first of its kind. What do you think of it? Now that you have a little one on the way, do you think the U.S. should follow in Australia's footsteps? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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