techkenyot.com
techkenyot.com March 20, 2019


Italy bans unvaccinated children from school

14 March 2019, 07:36 | Silvia Roy

Unvaccinated children in Italy banned from preschool under new law

A protestor speaks out against mandatory vaccination in Italy in July 2017. Italy's mandatory vaccination law came into effect in March 2019

Children under six can be barred from attending nursery schools and kindergartens if their parents fail to present written evidence that they have had the required vaccinations.

"Now everyone has had time to catch up", Health Minister Giulia Grillo told Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the BBC reported.

But up until Tuesday, a temporary measure meant students could remain in school as long as their parents said they were vaccinated.

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

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Under the new law, children must now receive a range of mandatory vaccinations before attending school.

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.

For years, confusion about vaccines has reigned in Italy. These vaccines include polio, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.

In Bologna, the local authority has sent letters of suspension to the parents of some 300 children, and a total of 5,000 children do not have their vaccine documentation up to date.

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

The government, which had initially opposed the Lorenzin law, reversed that position after what it called "a measles emergency", and criticism from health experts accusing the anti-vaccination movement of "sending Italy back to the Middle Ages".

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. At present, this target is not being achieved (it is now around 80 percent), said health officials.

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