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Italy makes 12 vaccines mandatory for school-age children

20 Mai 2017

If children are not vaccinated by the age of six, the school starting age, their parents will be fined.

The Italian cabinet on Friday approved a decree to make vaccines compulsory for all for all school starters.

Premier Paolo Gentiloni told a news conference that the new rules aimed to combat "anti-scientific theories" that have lowered Italy's vaccination rates in recent years.

In addition to four already compulsory vaccinations, for polio, diphtheria, hepatitis B and whooping cough, the new law now also covers vaccination against measles and meningitis, diseases that have recently seen a dramatic spike in Italy, prompting the United States to issue a travel warning for Italy.

The country's health institute recorded 2,395 cases of measles so far this year, which is a stark increase to the 840 recorded in all of 2016, and 250 in 2015.

"We are sending a very strong message to the public", said Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin.

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The Portuguese said: "I hope the fans at Old Trafford on Sunday the support the team; they forgive naivety and some lack of confidence.

While acknowledging that vaccination had contributed to the victory over some of the world's most serious and risky diseases, Grillo said that they still "bring a risk associated with side-effects" and are aiding pharmaceutical companies across the world.

The new infections were quite homogeneously distributed across Italian regions, and 89 percent of the cases involved non-vaccinated people, the institute said.

Mr Wakefield was struck off the United Kingdom medical register after fraudulently claiming there was a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) and autism and bowel disease in children.

Gentiloni's centre-left government has accused the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of sowing fear among parents by questioning the safety of some vaccines and the scruples of multinational pharmaceutical firms.

"5-Star is riding the wave of disinformation, nourishing fear and favoring a position that is anti-science and risky for the whole community", said Federico Gelli, a deputy from the ruling Democratic Party.

Italy makes 12 vaccines mandatory for school-age children