Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

New Italian law requires students to be vaccinated or face repercussions

New Italian law requires students to be vaccinated or face repercussions

Across the world, health authorities are grappling with a global resurgence of measles, with record numbers recorded in Europe and deadly outbreaks in the Philippines and Madagascar.

This stance follows months of debate over compulsory vaccination, both in Italy and across the world.

Italian health officials have taken a step towards stopping the wave of anti-vaccination campaigns.

Parents would need to present certification that their children had been properly immunized before they could be placed back in school or end the fines.

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

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A new Italian law reportedly put into effect Tuesday mandates that parents get their kids vaccinated for school or risk new penalties.

However, a year ago the Health Ministry - headed by a member of the Five Star Movement political party, whose co-founder the paper noted has brought up conspiracy theories linking vaccination to autism - issued a temporary rule allowing parents to simply state the children had been vaccinated rather than receiving a note from a doctor.

"Everyone has had time to catch up", Health Minister Giulia Grillo told La Repubblica newspaper. The waiver was heavily criticised by the scientific and medical community, which said it could reverse progress made in boosting Italy's vaccination rates in recent years.

According to the BBC, Italy has fallen behind other countries in terms of vaccination rates. There have been 165 measles cases this January in the European Union and a year ago there were 78 cases of vaccine-preventable infections, say reports.

On Monday the Italian health authority released figures claiming a national immunisation rate at or very close to 95 percent of children born in 2015. Since yesterday, it has come into being. Under Italy's so-called Lorenzin law - named after the former health minister who introduced it - children must receive a range of mandatory immunizations before attending school.

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