Is it draconian and wrong to make receiving child stipends dependent on immunizing your children? That depends on how you look at it.
Let’s start with the fact that the state is not obligated to give us money each month just because we have kids. We can continue with the fact that health care here costs peanuts, and the vaccines are free. A vaccine only makes it into the health care “basket” with no co-pays if it is determined that funding the vaccine for everyone in Israel costs less than it would to hospitalize, and treat, the number of people who would become seriously ill with the disease.
If the vaccines cost money, you could say that the state can’t require you to put out so much money. But the state is paying for the vaccines, paying for the healthcare, AND paying you 140 shekels a month, per kid. So, why can’t the state say, “Hey, guys, listen up. We don’t want to pay for the added healthcare that your kid is about to cost because he’s not vaccinated AND pay your child stipend. Choose what’s more important to you.” Honestly, the child stipend isn’t what will make true anti-vaxxers vaccinate their kids, nor will it break anyone’s bank account (despite complaints otherwise), but maybe it will make some extraordinarily low SES families (and therefore, by definition less-educated and probably at higher risk of contracting illnesses) give their kids vaccinations. However, the state has a right to say this, I think.
If this were all there was to it, it would be pretty simple. Do what you want, and leave others alone. I read an opinion article on Kristen’s blog that asked basically, “Why are we allowed to question every aspect of parenting except vaccines?” And the answer is this: Because if you want to formula feed your baby three days after he’s born, you are risking damage to YOUR baby’s gut. If you want to buy a second-hand car seat, you are risking YOUR baby’s life. True, it is everyone’s taxpayer money; true, it hurts everyone to see your kid suffer. But the ones who are going to pay the highest consequences are you, your child, and your family.
HOWEVER, if you choose not to vaccinate your child, it goes beyond that. Yes, you are costing us taxpayer money, because you are exposing your child to an illness likely to require lengthy hospitalization and/or rehabilitation. BUT, the difference is this: You are forcing your choice on the rest of us. Those with weakened immune systems, those pregnant, the elderly, those who cannot receive vaccinations, those who received the vaccines but are only partially immune, those too young to be fully or even partially vaccinated. You are putting ALL OF US at risk for dangerous diseases that can be avoided and even eradicated, against our wishes, and without asking or informing us. Your unvaccinated child is likely to begin or spread an epidemic, and that puts the rest of us at risk as well.
That is why it is different. Cloth diaper or use disposables. Feed your kid formula, breastmilk, cow milk, goat milk, or chocolate milk. Feed your kid junk food, only meat, vegan with no vitamins. Put your kid in the front seat, the back seat, the car seat, with or without an airbag. Smoke beside your kid, but not around mine. And do not expose my family to dangerous diseases, just because you think you are more educated than everyone else. I don’t care how educated you are. If you don’t want to vaccinate your kids, keep them away from my kids’ environments. Period. If your kid gets hurt by your choices, my heart will hurt, but there is nothing I can do about it. They are your kids. I will feel bad, I will be shocked, I will wish it didn’t have to happen. But they are your kids, and you are in charge. If you want to risk their lives, that’s your business. BUT, I don’t allow you to take risks with my kids. My kids are my responsibility, and I take that responsibility seriously. If you don’t vaccinate, the least you can do is make sure to only hang around with like-minded individuals, and alert everyone else that you are a potential carrier of dangerous diseases.