The Animal Justice Party (AJP) acknowledges that vaccination has been among the most successful of all modern medical interventions, significantly reducing illness and mortality rates amongst humans and non-human animals.
Vaccination protects individuals and the greater community from diseases, but the AJP recognises that there may be some legitimate concerns about vaccines, including the use of animals and animal products in their manufacture and testing, as well as the small risk of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). To address these concerns, the AJP calls for the rapid development of animal-free production and testing methods (see our Animal Experimentation Policy) and supports a national compensation scheme to support people with AEFIs.
Crucially, vaccination can significantly reduce the impact and spread of highly contagious diseases and help to protect whole communities from disease, death and major disruption to the economy and social life. For community protection to be effective, the vaccination rate must be high. To achieve a high vaccination rate, the AJP advocates for education and incentives (for example, subsidised vaccines or paid time off work to get vaccinated) as a first course of action. In some high-risk settings such as aged-care facilities, schools, hospitals or airports, it may be necessary to make vaccinations a condition of entry or employment to lower the risk of community transmission and serious illnesses. The difficult balance between the greater good and individual choice must be carefully considered and managed equitably.
Pathogens that cause highly contagious diseases can transfer from other animals to humans because of reduced physical distance between individuals – for example through loss of habitat or close confinement, or through contact with animal tissues, fluids or excreta. Pathogens that transfer from other species to humans (zoonotic infections) are best managed by prevention. The best preventative actions are to act rapidly to stop environmental destruction and eliminate animal exploitation.