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Italian government makes childhood vaccination compulsory

The Italian government has given final approval to mandating a list of childhood vaccinations for school children up to the age of 16.

Under these new requirements, parents must present proof of vaccinations to gain admission into preschools, while parents of children of mandatory school age face fines of up to €500 (A$700) for noncompliance. The requirements cover 10 vaccinations, including diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox. Two vaccines were dropped from an initial list of 12 – meningococcal B and meningococcal C.

Only 85.3 per cent of Italian two-year-olds had been vaccinated in 2015, and there were 3232 cases of measles in Italy between January and June of 2017, a significant increase over the 478 cases during the same period in 2016.

In fact, Skeptical Raptor reports that during the parliamentary debate, Italian health officials faced a measles outbreak that caused the US to issue a travel warning. In addition, a scandal arose in northern Italy that involved a nurse who claimed for years to have vaccinated children but had not.

Once the new law was announced, MPs and doctors have been the victims of violent protests, with three MPs being assaulted by anti-vaccine demonstrators outside the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome. The three were rescued by police from protesters shouting “killers”.

Last month the French government instituted similar requirements, making 11 vaccines compulsory for children.

Tim Mendham: