Respondent demographics: 165 General Practitioners (64% male) gave us their opinion on issues relating to childhood vaccination.

Should parents who are conscientious objectors to the vaccination of their children still receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A end-of-year supplement of $726?

ED. This punitive measure has been suggested by proponents of mass vaccination campaigns.

  • Yes 15%
  • No 72%
  • Uncertain 13%

Should doctors be able to use ‘public health reasons’ to explain their refusal to co-sign the Conscientious Objector forms of parents who forgo vaccination for their children?

ED. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, it seems – GPs believe they should be able to apply a right of refusal too. Whether this is for professional, moral, or other reasons is irrelevant. It appears to be more of a case-by-case consideration. A bit like pregnancy termination, we guess. It would be a matter of treating differing patient opinions with respect and to refuse openly.

  • Yes 77%
  • No 14%
  • Uncertain 9%

Just over 20% of young kids in WA are unvaccinated for different reasons, with about 2% of parents registered conscientious objectors. As far as you know, what percentage of unvaccinated kids is required before “herd immunity” breaks down and some infectious disease outbreaks are more likely as a result?

ED. First, GP gender did not significantly alter responses. Next, we realise this is a very vexed question, for which “depends” is a good response! Even the experts don’t agree. Dr Chris Blyth has attempted to explain  – natural variations between infecting bugs, the longevity of vaccinations, age at vaccination, previous exposure to ‘natural’ infection, how exposure risk occurs, etc., can all play a part. Herein lies the Catch 22 – we would like to send simple messages to health consumers to vaccinate, yet at higher population vaccination rates, the medical answers may not be simple, and responding simply arms the antagonists.

  • 1-5% 6%
  • 6-10% 31%
  • 11-20% 40%
  • 21-30% 15%
  • 31-50% 5%
  • >50% 3%