Unvaccinated students not to attend school

Faith Castro
March 14, 2019

Italian children are no longer allowed to attend school unless they can prove they have been properly vaccinated under a new law. The mandatory vaccinations include chickenpox, polio, mumps, rubella, and - perhaps most crucially at this time - measles. The consequences for failing to comply with the legislation reportedly varies depending on how old the child is.

But past 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.

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

"Everyone has had time to catch up", Health Minister Giulia Grillo told La Repubblica newspaper. Italian media report that regional authorities are handling the situation in a number of different ways.

In Bologna, officials said the 300 children did not present the official document attesting to their vaccination on Monday, and so could not attend public nursery schools.

The goal of the law, according to a government website, is to fight the gradual decline in Italy's vaccination rates.

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In other areas there have been no reported cases, while still others have been given a grace period of a few days beyond the deadline.

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.

The child had spent months receiving treatment for leukaemia, but was at risk of infection because a proportion of pupils in the school had not been vaccinated - including several in the same class.

The outbreak prompted the government to formulate tough laws. Protests have broken out against compulsory immunization and two populist parties have been accused of pushing anti-vaxx policies.

Fears in the United Kingdom about vaccinations causing autism were recently disproved after the doctor making the claims was struck off the United Kingdom medical register for making the claims in a fraudulent paper which drew from a case study of only 12 children.

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