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Immunisation for children under 17 now a legal requirement

28 luglio 2017 | 13.10
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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The Italian parliament on Friday voted into law a mass compulsory vaccination programme for children aged 0-16 to protect them from ten infectious diseases, including the potentially deadly measles virus.

Italy's lower house of parliament gave a final nod to the government's decree making the ten jabs obligatory for school admission, passing the measure by 296 votes in favour, 92 against and 15 abstentions.

Lawmakers from Italy's ruling centre-left Democratic Party and the conservative Forza Italia opposition party backed the decree, which was approved by the upper house Senate last week.

The federalist-leaning anti-immigrant Northern League party, rightwing Brothers of Italy party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement voted against the decree.

"#Vaccinations - the law's final approval will give families in Italy better health protection," tweeted Italian premier Paolo Gentiloni after Friday's vote in the Chamber of Deputies.

Parents who do not get the compulsory jabs for the children cannot enrol them in nursery school and face fines of up to 1,000 euros if they defy the law once their children reach compulsory education age.

The law - vehemently opposed by so-called anti-vax groups - comes after a measles outbreak that has claimed three lives since the start of the year among 3,842 cases amid falling vaccination rates in Italy.

Italy's health minister Beatrice Lorenzin championed the reform after finding that immunisation rates had fallen below the key 'herd immunity' threshold of 95 percent, seen as the minimum level required to stop the spread of contagious diseases.

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