Latest: Call to cut child benefit to parents who fail to vaccinate widely criticised

Latest: A suggestion to cut child benefit for families who don't vaccinate their children has been widely criticised.

Latest: Call to cut child benefit to parents who fail to vaccinate widely criticised

Update 3.47pm: A suggestion to cut child benefit for families who don't vaccinate their children has been widely criticised.

A new Medical Times article claims that payments should be reduced by 50% for parents who don't get all the shots.

Its author Dr Ruairi Hanley says there's only one way to combat falling inoculation rates.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone says she is not in favour of punishing parents.

And these people on the streets of Dublin agree.

"I do think that a punitive based system where you link peoples' child benefit to whether they take up health services is not a very good idea.

"You make it a class situation because people who have money will make the choices irrespective of their child benefit," one woman said.

"I would think that it's heavy-handed for them to touch the child benefit," another woman said.

Update: 11.40pm: The Minister for Children says she is not in favour of punishing parents as part of a bid to drive up child vaccination rates.

Doctors are calling for incentives.

One of those suggested is to halve the child benefit given to parents who don't get their children fully inoculated.

But Minister Katherine Zappone says she isn't sure that's the way to go: “I wouldn't generally be in favour of behaving in a way that punishes people.

“I would be in favour of encouraging behaviour that supports the rights that they have in this case in their children's health.”

Earlier: Parents who don't get the recommended vaccinations for their kids should have their child benefit cut in half.

That's the call from an Irish doctor, amid what he calls an 'ongoing campaign' against the HPV jab, which prevents cervical cancer.

Less than half of eligible girls began that series of jabs last September, far lower than the target level of 80%.

Ruari Hanley writes in the Irish Medical Times that if parents whose children aren't fully immunised suffered a 50% cut in child benefit, the problem would be solved 'overnight'.

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