Italian children who failed to present medical proofs that they have been vaccinated were sent back home from schools Tuesday, the local media reported.
After two extensions, the controversial Lorenzin law entered into force as of March 11. Named after the previous minister of health who introduced it, the newly-implemented law calls for a range of mandatory immunizations for children before they start school. Among the required vaccinations are those for polio, measles, rubella, and chickenpox.
Under the new regulations, kids under six can be barred from nursery schools and kindergartens if their parents do not provide written evidence for their immunization status.
As for the children over six years of age, they cannot be banned from attending school, but their parents may face fines up to $ 560 if they fail to complete the mandatory pack of immunizations.
Until not so long ago, Italy's populist government coalition have peddled conspiracy theories about the possible risks of having vaccinations. The local medical professionals even accused the interior minister and deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, in spreading conspiracy theories about the associated dangers of vaccinations.
On numerous occasions both before and after he came into power, Salvini called vaccines ''useless and in many cases dangerous'', citing sources according to which vaccinations could lead to autism.
Amid the rising number of measles cases, the government reversed its position in late 2018, calling for 800,000 babies, children, and young adults to receive vaccinations against measles.
Giulia Grillo, the current Health Minister, commented that one of the main goals of the new law was to raise the country's plummeting vaccination rates from below 80% to the World Health Organization's 95 percent target.
According to the government data, released Monday, when the law entered into force, the national immunization rate is nearly 95 percent for kids born in 2015.
In the meantime, last Wednesday, in a 57-40 vote, the Washington state House of Representative passed a bill to end the philosophical or personal object used by parents to exempt their children from receiving the vaccines required to attend schools within the state.
As per the new bill, a child would not be able to enter a school or daycare center if his/her parents failed to present a proof of full immunization or a certificate of exemption from a healthcare professional.
What do you think? Do you agree that the government should make the vaccinations mandatory for everyone to ensure the spread of long-forgotten diseases?