Children in Italy have been told not to go to school unless they can prove they have been properly vaccinated. Any children under six who cannot show that they have received mandatory vaccines will be turned away from school, while parents of older kids (six to 16) risk being fined up to €500 ($566) if they send their unvaccinated children to school.
The policy comes as a worrisome decline in vaccines has been seen across Italy and a measles outbreak was witnessed last year.
Speaking about the new policy, Health Minister Giulia Grillo said the rules were now simple: “No vaccine, no school.”
She added that parents have had adequate time to ensure all their children’s vaccines were up to date by now.
Under Italy’s so-called Lorenzin law, children must receive a range of mandatory immunizations before attending school. These include vaccinations for chickenpox, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella.
Italian officials say the compulsory vaccine law has led to inoculation rates for measles reaching the 95% population coverage rate recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) – the threshold for “herd immunity.”
The deadline by which children had to be vaccinated was March 10 (after a previous delay). And despite calls for it to be extended, the Health Minister has stood firm on the issue.