This is one of those posts you have to take a deep breath in before you start writing.
It’s one of those ‘tough conversations’ you don’t have the gumption to have with anyone outside your family home. But since I have this platform to speak, speak up I shall.
We’ve chosen NOT to vaccinate our kid (reasons for which can be read here). And while that may or may not be a wise decision, it’s a decision made because we BELIEVE it to be the best choice for our daughter of three, for the time being.
Since the world has been turned upside down with COVID-19, it turned our educational systems upside down with it.
The question of
‘How safe is it actually to have schools running ‘as normal’ with a worldwide pandemic continuously spreading and causing deaths?’
is being asked.
While each country has placed it’s focus on the health and safety of it’s people in controlling Covid-19, the government seems to have avoided the question of how safe or unsafe the ‘UNVACCINATED‘ child is now deemed.
And yet, no one is vaccinated against this highly contagious and life-threatening disease that is at large in the world today.
So as the parents of Australia continue as normal to send their babies and toddlers to Day Cares and Preschools (which they have every right to) without being protected against corona virus, what are the ‘unvaccinated’ children left to do?
THE DOUBLE STANDARD
As a parent, of a now seemingly looser categorization of what an ‘unvaccinated’ child is, I’ve felt a deeper rooted frustration at the government’s double standard regarding this issue since January 29th 2020.
Why ISN’T my child, who is as equally capable of spreading COVID-19 than any ‘vaccinated’ child, allowed to attend Day Care or Preschool?
Is there not a serious contradiction at play here when nine months ago an unvaccinated toddler was deemed ‘unsafe’ to mingle with other vaccinated toddlers in fear of spreading or contracting chickenpox? (statistically causing far less deaths than Covid-19).
Is not a highly contagious, current outbreak of a deadly disease (that not a single soul is protected from) enough cause to inhibit ALL toddlers from mingling with one another?
The government has shown, during Covid, that childcare/schooling is a NECESSITY for families to survive. However, they are still not allowing OUR family that same necessity in every day life.
WE ARE A CONTRIBUTING MEMBER OF SOCIETY TOO
Please don’t misunderstand me. I think that childcare should be utilized at this time, especially when families are struggling to hold onto their jobs from home or having to find new ones.
But it’s difficult, as a family with one income, who pay their taxes diligently to see a large sum of that money put towards three months of free childcare for children in Australia, with NOTHING offered for your own.
Finding out that our child benefit payments had been taken away because we chose not to vaccinate our daughter, was disappointing.
Contributing to the $7.4 billion the Australian government spent between 2018-2019 on child care subsidies to families throughout Australia, and not able to benefit from it, was frustrating.
But watching Acacia’s friends who she’d met on the trail or at the park during lockdown, suddenly rush back into classrooms leaving her behind, confused me.
The government spent an estimated $1.6 billion in just three months to initiate their free childcare scheme this year, because they recognized just HOW important childcare is for our society to function during this time.
Is my unvaccinated child not part of that society?
Is there not something fundamentally wrong about the fact that our government is financially COERCING parents to make a medical decision about their children?
Something which is meant to remain a CHOICE.
And though we were incredibly blessed not to have lost my husband’s job (ironically, as a school teacher), what of those families who DID lose jobs and struggled to find new ones?
Because their unvaccinated children were at home in their care with nowhere else to go and no benefits at their disposal?
IS THERE AN ALTERNATIVE?
Though my husband and I have reservations about how quickly a vaccination might currently be in trial, or how swiftly it might be administered, we still hope for a SAFE vaccination against Corona to be found.
Once there is one, we (as healthy, fully developed adults) will responsibly consider vaccinating ourselves so as to protect our daughter and any other ‘vulnerable’ members of society (newborns/young children and elderly).
Until then, what does the government propose to do, for the now not-so, ‘unvaccinated’ children of Australia?
After hounding the media advisors of the NSW Premier for two weeks with this very question, and receiving no response whatsoever, I’ll offer up some possible considerations myself.
Seeing Covid’s fast-track of online learning, perhaps there could be some government funding into online learning accessibility for unvaccinated kids?
Or a preschool monthly allowance for families to purchase educational craft for their toddlers to use at home?
Was preventing financial benefits to families who chose NOT to vaccinate their kids ever designed as a punishment? To prevent them from having the same EDUCATIONAL and SOCIAL privileges as those who are vaccinated?
If the answer is no (I hope), then perhaps it’s time for the AHPPC to consider other ways in which they can better facilitate EVERY tax payer’s contribution into EVERY toddler’s developmental learning and opportunity in this country.
In a safe and honest way.
WHY AM I WRITING THIS?
I’m writing all this from the perspective of a parent, carer and playmate to my three year old girl.
Not because I’m fed up of my job as the latter and I want someone to take my kid off my hands, but as a person who sees something amiss during these difficult and complex times.
I’m raising my voice, and hopefully lending mine to others who might not have a way to speak up. Because it’s my child. And braving the tough conversations is why I started this blog in the first place.
If we don’t opt in to vital conversations about the exclusive/inclusive, unbalanced and contradictory issues of our society because we’re scared of looking wrong, we’re actually holding back from progress.
Meaningful and lasting change never came from being quiet and safe.
So I’m inviting you all to have your voice here. To share your stories, your constructive views and your ideas for a better world that includes EVERY child in a safe and loving way.
Join the Conversation by commenting below!