(Vox) There’s a school of thought that refusing vaccines on behalf of your children amounts to child abuse, and that parents should be punished for their decision. We know vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and effective at preventing the spread of disease. And yet failing to immunize children can put them (and vulnerable people around them) at tremendous risk of illness or even death when outbreaks get rolling.
Now it seems Australia and a number of countries in Europe are fed up enough with vaccine-refusing parents that they’re experimenting with punitive measures. We haven’t quite reached the level of child abuse charges, but moms and dads in these countries may face fines if they fail to give their kids the recommended shots. In Australia, schools that let the unvaccinated kids in would be fined too. This marks a pretty aggressive shift in how we manage vaccine refusers and the costly, deadly outbreaks of diseases like measles and whooping cough they help spark.
Here’s a quick roundup of the global crackdown on vaccine-refusing parents:
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