Italy is nearing to become the first country to strictly enforce vaccination laws. The legislation, after a heated debate in the parliament, will be applicable from next month onwards (April). It could potentially change Italian attitudes towards vaccination and children health in particular.
According to the law, parents have been asked to keep children away from school if they have not undergone vaccination. What is even more strict about the law is that parents could be fined if they do not abide by the regulation. They can be fined an amount starting from 400 Euros to somewhere about 600 Euros. Children under six-year-old can, fortunately, get away with the law but not anyone beyond that age group.
The Lorenzin Vaccination Law
The legislation that came about was named after the health minister who had been pushing up for the change for long. According to the minister, radical steps towards protecting Italian children is the need of the hour. Generally, from what is observed, the minister argues, there is unawareness on the behalf of the parents. Not many realize that vaccination is better for the child him/herself and the population around.
Why Minister Lorenzin pushed for the legislation can also be understood with regards to the rise in measles cases. Parts of Europe and USA are amidst the worst measles crisis of the decade that has essentially affected thousands.
The change was long overdue. Previously, proponents of vaccination had demanded implementation of a similar law but that never got executed. Now, according to the recent legislation, the enforcement could take place as early as 1st April with no levy for an extension.
The proposition is simple and straightforward. “No Vaccine, No School.”
Accordingly, school authorities will make it a point to check the vaccination documents of children. While children under 6 remain exempted, others have to strictly abide by the regulation. Those between 6 and 16-year-old need to have some documented proof. Failing to do so can instil a considerable fine on the parents.
Bologna, one of the largest cities in Italy, have around 5000 children going to school without any proof of vaccination. For other cities, the problem could potentially be worse although no exact figures have so far been reported.
How will the law bring about a change?
For the proponents and supporters of the law, this radical change is nonetheless a step in the right direction. It is a vital step ensuring proper health of the young generation as well as ensuring the well being of the Italian population in general.
The government, on the other hand, is also more than willing to accommodate this change. Through a successful execution of the plan, the health authorities want to achieve the WHO vaccination benchmark. Currently, the rates in Italy stand at 80%, 15 short of what the situation should ideally be.
Yet, some Italian parents still remain sceptical and doubleminded. They are unsure of how to go about the situation. Not long ago, there were rumours circulating all over the country about the possible consequences of vaccination. While these rumours hold no authenticity, it is about time before the inhibitions of the parents are properly dealt with.