Children in Italy have to be vaccinated or they can’t go to school: government

Canadian travellers warned of measles outbreak in Europe
ABOVE: Canadian travellers warned of measles outbreak in Europe.

The Italian government has made it mandatory for children up to age 16 to be vaccinated in order to attend school.

The government made the announcement Friday in an effort to combat what it characterizes as misinformation about vaccines.

READ MORE: Germany to force kindergartens to report parents that fail to seek vaccination advice

The new measures followed an intense public debate over vaccines after a measles outbreak and political sniping over accusations after a political party has emboldened anti-vaccine advocates.

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.

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The government approved making 12 vaccines, including measles, rubella and chickenpox, mandatory starting this September for children attending Italian pre-schools through the second year of high school. Other required vaccines include tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis B.

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Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said children will not be accepted into nursery or pre-schools without proof of vaccinations, while parents of children legally obliged to attend school will face hefty fines for noncompliance. The certification will be required every year, she said.