In an amendment laid down by the anti-establishment government of Italy, the mandatory vaccination required for school going children shall be removed leaving it up to the choice of the parents. This news has shocked the entire medical and scientific community of Italy.
According to the amendment, the law for mandatory proof required to be shown for any children to be enrolled for the preschools or nursery classes to have at least 10 important vaccinations shall be removed for a year. This amendment has been approved by the Italian parliament’s upper house on Friday with 148 votes against 110. However, the order is still to be passed by the parliament’s lower house.
Democratic Party of Italy originally introduced this new law in the month of July 2017 during the outbreak of the disease measles that led to 5,004 cases being reported in the year 2017. This was the 2nd highest count in Europe just after Romania as per the statistics provided by ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control). The centre also added that Italy’s number of reported cases made up 34 percent of the overall cases for measles all over the stretch of European Economic Area.
However, the Five Star Movement in Italy along with Far-Right League, the coalition partner, both raised their voices against the mandating of vaccination as they tend to discourage the parents from school inclusions. On the contrary, doctors and several health experts have been warning the government that the removal of the mandatory tag from the law shall bring in negative results leading to decrease in the herd immunity that has been attained from years of practice of vaccination.
Roberto Burioni, Professor of Microbiology and Virology from the San Raffaele University located in Milan said that the measles vaccination coverage in Italy was lower than Ghana but similar to that of Namibia. However, the mandatory law had been making things better for the country with improvement in the overall coverage. He further added that the number needs to be increased rather than being brought down. The children who haven’t been vaccinated shall pose a threat to the children studying in the same school and younger ones who are very young to receive vaccination. This can also be an issue for the children suffering from some immunosuppressive disease which renders the children incapable of receiving vaccination.
According to a report by ECDC, about 89 percent of the measles cases found in Italy for the year 2017 came from the non-vaccinated population while 6 percent of the affected were the ones who just received a single dose of the vaccination.