Italy changes laws over unvaccinated children attending school

Italy bans unvaccinated children from school

Italy bans unvaccinated children from school

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

This stance follows months of debate over compulsory vaccination, both in Italy and across the world.

Under this law, all children below the age of 6 years could be turned away from the pre-schools if they have not been adequately vaccinated against common infections such as measles, chicken pox, mumps, polio and rubella or German measles.

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.

After the notorious study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that linked measles vaccine to autism, there has been rise in anti-vaccination sentiments among parents.

The last day for parents to turn in vaccine documents was Monday.

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

For years, confusion about vaccines has reigned in Italy.

Parents face up to USD570 fine in case they send their unvaccinated kids to school.

Under Italy's so-called Lorenzin law - named after the former health minister who introduced it - children must receive a range of mandatory immunisations before attending school. The BBC added that Italian media reported regional authorities are "handling the situation in a number of different ways", with no notices of suspension reported in some areas and grace periods allowed in others.

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

The new law was passed to raise Italy's plummeting vaccination rates from below 80% to the World Health Organisation's 95% target.

The city of Bologna reportedly has at least 300 children who now do not comply with the vaccination requirements and are at risk of suspension from school.

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