The Atheist Foundation of Australia accepts evidence-based medical science, which overwhelmingly supports vaccination. Vaccinations reduce the prevalence, spread, and severity of disease and maximise herd immunity, which protects those who are unable to be vaccinated.
The AFA welcomes the Federal Government’s encouragement of vaccinations and tightening of exemptions. However, we are bemused and concerned that the Government considers personal religious beliefs are more important than public health.
“The government’s goal of increasing vaccination rates is a noble one.” commented AFA President Michael Boyd. “However, retaining any religious exemption ignores the reality that vaccine-preventable diseases simply do not respect religious beliefs.”
“Diseases will infect vulnerable people regardless of which gods they pray to, sometimes with serious health consequences. Exceptions based on faith from proper medical treatment increases the risk for the rest of the community.”
Anti-vaccination proponents are likely to be already looking at ways to exploit this loophole, and we would not be surprised if the number of people professing this religious belief was to suddenly jump.
In Australia, people are free to personally practice their religion as long as it does not negatively impact on the rest of the community. Compromising vaccination programs due to personally held religious beliefs unquestionably places other people at risk.
The AFA calls for the Federal Government to strictly limit exemptions from vaccinations to people with genuine medical reasons for doing so.
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
PO Box 1062
Lane Cove NSW 1595
Phone: (08) 8835 2269
Email: [email protected]