Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland
Advertisement

Italian populists promise to scrap compulsory vaccines

Share this article

Italian populists promise to scrap compulsory vaccines
Italy's current law makes ten vaccinations compulsory and free of charge for all children. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP
16:04 CET+01:00
Two Italian populist parties running in elections in March are promising to scrap a compulsory vaccination law, a hot-button issue after a measles outbreak claimed four lives last year.

Under the decree, which sparked heated public debate when it took effect six months ago, children cannot enrol in a creche or kindergarten unless they have been vaccinated against measles as well as nine other diseases.

Parents of unvaccinated children aged between six and 16 face fines of up to €500.

Previously only four vaccines – not including measles – were mandatory.

Now the far-right Northern League and the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) are proposing to scrap the decree ahead of the March 4th elections in which the two parties and a divided left will go up against a strong centre-right coalition.

M5S leader Luigi Di Maio says the law should revert to the previous four compulsory vaccines, while adding measles, after last year's outbreak sickened nearly 5,000 people and killed four.

He notes that Italy's measles immunisation rate of 87 percent is far below the 95 percent threshold recommended by the World Health Organization.

Northern League leader Matteo Salvini opposed the decree from the start, saying that while he had his children vaccinated he believed the shots should be optional.

The stance is at odds with the party's ally, the conservative Forza Italia movement of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, which voted in favour of the measure last year.

Meanwhile, ruling Democratic Party leader and former premier Matteo Renzi said he backs the law.

"You don't mess around with vaccines. The health of our children is at stake, not an extra [percentage] point at the polls. We are on the side of science, research and medicine and won't turn back."

Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

Advertisement

From our sponsors

Make a difference volunteering overseas in 2018

There's no better time than the start of a new year to help bring about positive change in the world. Find out why scores of young idealists are signing up to change people's lives for the better by volunteering abroad.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Jobs
Click here to start your job search
Advertisement
Advertisement

Popular articles

Advertisement
Advertisement