The scientific community has been hit with a shock this week as Italy has decided to stop issuing mandatory vaccinations, as they have changed their perspectives on it. This amendment, coming from Italy’s anti-establishment government has now removed all mandatory vaccinations for school children. This has astounded both the scientific and medical community, as well as worrying certain members of the public.
The original law has been in place for many years, and it means that parents are no longer required to provide authorities with proof that their children have been through the required 10 shots that they are supposed to have. Italy’s parliament approved this by 148 votes to 110 votes meaning that this new bill was passed instantly. The democratic party has instilled this law back in July of 2017; however, it’s now officially overturned.
During the time that the law was initially put into place there were 5,004 active cases of measles being reported each year. This number was in fact the highest in the whole of Europe coming second only to Romania. These figures were published last year by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also known as the ECDC. This report stated that Italy alone was held accountable for 34% of all measles cases in the European Economic Area.
The Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini released a statement around the subject back in June saying that the 10 obligatory vaccinations (of which, tetanus, polio and measles are included), “are useless and in many cases dangerous, if not harmful, I confirm the commitment to allow all children to go to school, The priority is that they don’t get expelled from the classes.”. Despite clear warnings from scientists, doctors and the like, Italy has gone ahead to revoke the original law, which was put in place for good reason, as they now think it unnecessary.
A professor of Microbiology, Roberto Burioni warned “Italy’s measles vaccine coverage was par with Namibia, lower than Ghana, But the law was working, the coverage was improving. We should strengthen it, not weaken it. Now, children who are not vaccinated will endanger other children at school who are too small for vaccines or cannot be vaccinated because they suffer from immunosuppressive diseases.” With such strong opposing views it’s surprising that the change to this bill was passed; nevertheless, we must now see how it plays out in the long run.
A scientist who currently carries out research in this field with the University of Rome, ended a lot of talks by stressing that “Italy is part of a global trend of distrust in mediators — doctors and scientists — who can interpret and explain data, with the advent of the Internet, people have the illusion they can access and read data by themselves, removing the need for technical and scientific knowledge.” She advocated that the full story is not always shown online, and that people must dig deeper for the true research and eventual results.