Calls for anti-vaxxers to be stripped of Medicare: 'Wilful stupidity'

·4-min read

A former Australian premier has called for Medicare to be stripped from anti-vaxxers after Singapore took similar steps.

Singapore's Ministry of Health recently announced Covid patients in hospitals who are not vaccinated from December 8 will be handed a bill, instead of the government paying for it.

But those who are not eligible for a Covid vaccine, like people aged under 12 years old or who are medically ineligible, will have their medical bills paid for by the government.

In a notice from Singapore’s Ministry of Health, it noted unvaccinated people currently make up a "sizeable majority" of those in intensive inpatient care and "disproportionately contribute to the strain on our healthcare resources".

Constructions workers protest vaccine mandates in Melbourne. Source: Getty
Constructions workers protest vaccine mandates in Melbourne. Source: Getty

On Twitter, former NSW premier Bob Carr called for Australia to follow Singapore's lead.

"Follow Singapore and legislate no medical or hospital expenses to be reimbursed to people who are not vaccinated without medical justification and then contract Covid," he tweeted. 

"You ignored warnings and got the disease. You pay for your wilful stupidity, not the rest of us."

Mr Carr followed up his initial tweet by saying for many Covid was a "death sentence".

"A pig-headed view that one has the perfect right to be unvaccinated without medical justification is a violation (potentially fatal) of the rights of others to life and health," he said.

"This should be enforced as we enforce smoke-free work environments or no driving while drunk."

Very few people agreed with the former premier and many thought it would undermine Australia's healthcare system.

Scott Morrison shuts down Bob Carr's Medicare call

When appearing on Sunrise on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked what he thought about Mr Carr's comments.

Mr Morrison said the federal government did not have a vaccine mandate.

"We respect people's choices, of course, we want people to get vaccinated, and they have been getting vaccinated under these policies," he said.

Mr Morrison added jurisdictions like the ACT and NSW had high vaccination coverage, while 81.5 per cent of people in Australia aged over 16 were fully vaccinated.

"We've got there because we've just just trusted Australians, they know what they need to do," the prime minister said. 

"But you know, we live in a country where we're not going to go around demonising those who want to make their own choices."

Scott Morrison during an interview on Channel Seven's Sunrise.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia will not follow Singapore's lead. Source: Sunrise

NSW data shows effectiveness of vaccines

Data from the NSW Health Department showed the 412 people who died during the Delta outbreak were unvaccinated.

The data was collected from June 16 to October 7 this year and shows the vast majority of Covid infections in the state during those dates were among unvaccinated people, with 63.1 per cent reported not having the jab.

By comparison, fully vaccinated people made up 6.1 per cent of cases.

The state's chief health officer said the report also made it clear fully vaccinated people were significantly less likely to become infected with Covid-19.

ICU staff caring for Covid-19 patients in the ICU of St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney on July 13, 2021.
The vast majority of Covid-related deaths in NSW amid the Delta outbreak were unvaccinated people. Source: AAP

“The Covid-19 Delta outbreak has been the biggest challenge the state has faced during the pandemic because of its transmissibility," she said.

"However, this report shows vaccination has been key in protecting ourselves, our families, and the community from the harmful effects of the virus.”

Between September 8 and September 21, ICU admissions and deaths peaked.

Dr Chant noted in the report unvaccinated people were 16 times more likely to end up in the ICU or die during this period.

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