Background to Task
“No Jab, No Pay” is an Australian Government initiative to help ensure all children are fully immunised in line with the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule. The national “No jab, no pay” policy, introduced on 1 January 2016, extended the existing vaccination requirements for receiving federal family assistance payments. At a State/Territory level the requirements extend to No Jab No Play, which stipulates that children must be fully immunised or have an approved catch up program or have a medical reason not to be vaccinated in order to attend child care. This policy extension does not include Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Northern Territory (NT), and Tasmania (TAS).
The aim of the policy was to improve childhood immunisation coverage, by removing the option for religious or philosophical objections to vaccination from the eligibility criteria for financial benefits linked to immunisation. At the time that the policy was introduced there were concerns that linking vaccination to welfare and tax benefits may disproportionately influence certain groups, such as working women and low-income families.
Concerns were also raised about workforce challenges in implementing the No Jab No Pay measures especially in settings with large refugee numbers. Lastly, questions were raised about whether the policy was proportional to the treat posed by vaccine refusal in Australia. As highlighted by Frank Beard and colleagues in a perspective piece in the Medical Journal of Australia, the “importance of vaccine refusal as a potential contributor to disease transmission is mainly limited to relatively small geographic areas where levels of vaccine refusal are high”. They felt that there was limited evidence to base the policy on.
Word Limit: 2,500 words (excluding references)
For this assignment, you are asked to undertake a retrospective review of the No Jab No Pay/play policy in Australia. As the textbook notes ‘the quality of your policy analysis will depend on the accuracy, comprehensiveness and relevance of the information that you are able to collect. These in turn, depend on the time and resources available to you.’ (Page 202). Given that this is an assignment task, you may base your review largely on the resource documents below; and your emphasis will be on the policy as it developed in 2015, then 2018, and the ramifications of this since then. You will need to do a little further researching for additional detail, but most of what you will need to know for your policy analysis has been provided to you in the links below.
You are advised to use the ‘policy analysis triangle’ (Figure 1 on Page 9 in your textbook) as a systematic framework to help you explore the context, content, actors, and processes around the policy of No Jab No Pay/Play. However, as your textbook suggests (see page 206-208) you might find the easiest way to present your retrospective policy analysis is as a narrative — ‘a story with a beginning, middle and an end… you will start with problem identification and issue recognition (agenda setting), go on to policy formulation and implementation, and end with an evaluation of what happened in this particular policy ‘story’ (p.207). Review your text for further details about policy analysis.
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