Italy bans unvaccinated children from attending school

Grant Boone
March 14, 2019

The new "Lorenzin law" is aimed at reducing measles outbreaks caused the inadequate vaccination of children.

The World Health Organisation said the record number of cases in 2018 was in part due to the growing number of parents refusing to vaccinate their children.

Parents are now facing fines if their unvaccinated children attend school.

Children aged between 6 and 16 years can not be banned from school but their parents may have to pay fines up to €500 (£425) if their children are not vaccinated.

Italian children have been ordered not to attend school unless they prove they have been appropriately vaccinated.

A policy named after former health minister, the Lorenzin law, makes it compulsory for children under six to get a range of immunizations before attending school. Despite political pressure to extend the deadline, Health Minister Giulia Grillo kept it at March 11, saying "No vaccine, no school". 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.

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The law came in the wake of measles outbreaks - 5,000 people in Italy got the illness previous year, and four died.

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

Regional authorities are taking care of the situation through different ways, report Italian media.

On Monday - the last day for parents to provide documentation proving their children had been properly vaccinated - the Italian health authority released figures claiming a national immunisation rate at or very close to 95% for children born in 2015, depending on which vaccine was being discussed.

There have been protests over the law changes around vaccinations in Italy.

According to the Times, the current Italian government is working on a confusing plan to introduce "flexible obligation", in which immunization would only be mandatory if rates dipped below herd immunity levels.

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