Italy health officials have had a dramatic change of heart with controversial mandatory vaccine laws. Parents are now being told that compulsory vaccination is required before their children can attend school. Non-compliant parents could be fined up to $560.
Italian officials are likely reacting to measles cases and public scrutiny. The Lorenzin law, which is named after the health minister who created it, includes mandatory vaccines for chickenpox, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. The law includes nurseries. Children between the ages of 6 and 16 may still attend school without vaccines, but their parents can be fined.
“Now everyone has had time to catch up,” Health Minister Giulia Grillo told La Repubblica newspaper.
Deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini urged Grillo to extend the current law which allowed parents medical freedom. But Grillo decided to instead, act against Salvini’s wishes.
“No vaccine, no school,” Grillo stated.
Italian parents continue to protest the government over the decision.
Authorities in Bologna mailed letters of suspension to over 5,000 children’s parents.
Italian officials claim the new law is raising vaccination rates from below 80% to above 90%. Italian officials claim vaccination rates are near 95%, where herd immunity is proposed to kick in.
Italy’s two populist parties have made clear they support parental rights. Their stances against mandatory vaccines have caused massive divide across Italy and the world. Many believe that parental rights in the country were heading in a good direction, that is until this recent setback.