Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Italy bans unvaccinated children from attending school

Unvaccinated children in Italy banned from preschool under new law Italian children without vaccination certificates turned away from schools after government changes policy
Anna Jefferson | 14 March, 2019, 19:39

A 2017 law mandated children enrolled in Italian schools receive 10 different vaccines, the Times wrote, in "response to a worrisome decline in vaccinations nationwide and a measles outbreak that same year".

The law is part of Italy's drive to increase vaccination rates to be in line with the World Health Organisation's target of 95% - enough to prevent diseases spreading while allowing children whose immune systems are too compromised for vaccinating to go without.

Concerned over the outbreak of diseases, Italy is refusing unvaccinated children from attending school.

Children can not attend nursery schools unless they are vaccinated, and parents of elementary and middle school pupils risk fines of up to 500 euros if they don't have doctor's notes showing that their children were vaccinated against the required diseases.

Children under six can be turned away while any attending school between the age of 6 and 16 will result in their parents being fined 500 euros ($564 dollars).

The new Italian law has proved controversial. Italy's health minister, Giulia Grillo told La Repubblica newspaper that people were given ample time to get their ward's vaccinated and update the immunization records.

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After the notorious study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that linked measles vaccine to autism, there has been rise in anti-vaccination sentiments among parents.

In Bologna, suspension letters were sent to the parents of 300 children. However, the B.C. government has said that it is only planning to require mandatory reporting of vaccination status in the upcoming school year.

The mandatory vaccination law was being opposed by the Five Star that formed Italy's first coalition with the League but was ultimately upheld.

Vaccines have been a flash point for recent elections in Italy.

The law came in the wake of measles outbreaks - 5,000 people in Italy got the illness past year, and four died. At present, this target is not being achieved (it is now around 80 percent), said health officials.

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