Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Parents sending unimmunised children to school despite warnings

Parents sending unimmunised children to school despite warnings

The last few years saw Italy's vaccination rates drop to 80 percent, well below the 95 percent target the World Health Organization pushes countries to reach.

To combat the movement, the Italian government is now taking bold steps to ensure children are vaccinated.

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. The 2017 law aims to combat the rising number of measles cases across the country by mandating that school students receive 10 difference vaccinations.

The required vaccinations are polio, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, pertussis, measles, rubella, mumps, chicken pox and Haemophilus influenzae type B.

Italian children have been ordered not to attend school unless they prove they have been appropriately vaccinated. 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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But previous year, 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. The study has long since been discredited but the confidence on vaccines has been damaged to a great extent.

For years, confusion about vaccines has reigned in Italy.

The mandatory vaccination law was being opposed by the Five Star that formed Italy's first coalition with the League but was ultimately upheld. At present, this target is not being achieved (it is now around 80 percent), said health officials. Since yesterday, it has come into being.

Nicknamed the "Lorenzin law" after the health minister who introduced it, the law allows schools to suspend vaccinated children younger than six years old until they get the shots.

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