Monday, 25 March, 2019


Italy Begins To Enforce 'No Vaccines, No School' Policy After Deadline Expires

An Italian doctor checks a syringe before vaccinating a child in Rome An Italian doctor checks a syringe before vaccinating a child in Rome Credit Alessandra Tarantino AP
Patty Aguilar | 14 March, 2019, 19:37

It threatened to overturn the mandatory vaccination law passed by the previous government but ended up scrapping its plans in the face of criticism as the country experienced a measles outbreak last summer.

Italian children lacking proof that they have been vaccinated were turned away from nurseries on Tuesday after the country's populist coalition reversed its previously sceptical stance on the need for compulsory jabs.

In British Columbia, which is now experiencing a small measles outbreak, parents started a petition calling for mandatory vaccinations to attend school.

Under Italy's so-called Lorenzin law - named after the former health minister who introduced it - children must receive a range of mandatory immunisations before attending school.

But a year ago, the Health Ministry, headed by a member of the Five Star Movement, one of the parties in the coalition government, adopted a temporary measure to allow children to stay in school as long as their parents attested they had been vaccinated.

A law in Italy requiring children to be vaccinated in order to attend school went into affect on Monday, according to the BBC.

"Everyone has had time to catch up", Health Minister Giulia Grillo told La Repubblica newspaper. These vaccines include polio, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.

Italy has a target of 95 percent vaccine coverage, as recommended by the WHO.

"Italy's measles vaccine coverage was par with Namibia, lower than Ghana", San Raffaele University microbiology and virology professor Roberto Burioni told CNN a year ago.

In Bologna, suspension letters were sent to the parents of 300 children.

While immunization rates hovered around 80 per cent in 2017, when the law was passed, the Times added, the country now is nearing (and in some areas has already met) the World Health Organization target of 95 per cent. Such a low rate adversely affects herd immunity that prevents the spread of infection.

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