Parents sending unimmunised children to school despite warnings

Laverne Higgins
March 14, 2019

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) study after a major measles outbreak in the country in 2017 found that almost 89 percent of cases were reported among unvaccinated people.

In British Columbia, which is now experiencing a small measles outbreak, parents started a petition calling for mandatory vaccinations to attend school.

The Lorenzin Law, named after the country's former health minister, says that children must have mandatory chickenpox, polio, measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations before they start school.

A law in Italy requiring children to be vaccinated in order to attend school went into affect on Monday, according to the BBC.

"No vaccine, no school", health minister Giulia Grillo said, per the BBC.

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However, a year ago the Health Ministry - headed by a member of the Five Star Movement political party, whose co-founder the paper noted has brought up conspiracy theories linking vaccination to autism - issued a temporary rule allowing parents to simply state the children had been vaccinated rather than receiving a note from a doctor.

The new Italian law has proved controversial.

"Italy's measles vaccine coverage was par with Namibia, lower than Ghana", commented Roberto Burioni, a professor of microbiology and virology at San Raffaele University in Milan. Monday marked the first day schools could turn away students.

In Bologna, suspension letters were sent to the parents of 300 children.

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". Italian media report that regional authorities are handling the situation in a number of different ways. With rates below 80 percent, the country lags far behind the World Health Organization's 95 percent target.

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