More than 83 per cent of Australians support the federal government's mandatory vaccination policy, a new survey suggests.
Joint research by academics from the University of Sydney and University of Western Australia, published on Tuesday, indicates an overwhelming majority of Australians support the "No Jab, No Pay" policy.
Under legislation introduced in 2016, children across the country must be fully-immunised for their parents to receive federal government payments.
Up to 250,000 children have taken up new vaccinations since the initial no-jab-no-pay policy started three years ago, federal health minister Greg Hunt said in January.
Survey data of more than 1000 respondents from the University of Western Australia's Values Project suggests support for both vaccination and legislation penalising non-vaccination is very high throughout the Australian population.
By comparison, research from the United States and the United Kingdom shows a sharp drop in support for vaccine mandates when compared with support for vaccination itself.
Some 83.7 per cent of respondents to the survey agreed or strongly agreed with the 'No Jab, No Pay' policy. Only 8.7 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed with it.
Likewise, 87.6 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that vaccinations are safe, necessary and effective, compared with 4.2 per cent who disagreed or strongly disagreed.
The data also provides little evidence that attitudes towards vaccination vary between supporters of political parties.
Voters of larger parties, especially the Coalition, are slightly more likely than voters of smaller parties to accept vaccination.
Overall agreement with vaccines was found to be above 80 per cent, with voters for independent and 'other' parties the only ones to drop below this at 77.1 per cent.
The paper's co-author David Smith, from the University of Sydney, said there isn't a political divide over the issue in Australia.
"In the US conservatives tend to be a little bit more distrustful of government in general, and more distrustful of the concept of mandatory vaccination, even if they personally think that vaccination is a good thing," Mr Smith told AAP.
"But what we see in Australia is right across the political spectrum, people seem to accept this as a role for the government," he said.
The survey also found respondents who said they were religious were slightly less accepting of the policy than those who said they were not.
The study concludes that only negative beliefs about vaccination correlated meaningfully with a dislike of mandatory vaccination, in comparison to both the US and the UK.
This likely reflects a political culture "less resistant to regulation by the state and less fearful of big government," the paper says.
Australian Associated Press
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