Italy’s new coalition government, which was formed by far-left Five-Star Movement and far-right League and sworn into power in June, is delivering on its campaign pledge and abolishing child vaccination law.
This law, which was legislated by the previous government after an outbreak of measles last year, requires parents to vaccinate their children against 10 diseases, including measles, mumps, and chickenpox. But Italy’s upper house of parliament recently passed a bill that will postpone the obligation for parents to submit a document verifying that they have vaccinated their children against 10 diseases before enrolling in pre-school.
The beginning of the controversy surrounding vaccines dates back to 20 years ago. In 1998, British doctor Andrew Wakefield published a paper in a journal that argued measles vaccine might lead to autism. Wakefield’s license to practice medicine was revoked after it was revealed that his theory had been debunked. But anti-vaccination activists still argue that all vaccination is unreliable based on the Wakefield’s paper.
Myths surrounding vaccines have spread widely particularly in Turkey and Australia, becoming a nuisance for their governments.
As many as 23,000 families in Turkey refused to have their children vaccinated last year as rumors spread that vaccines contain pig blood. The figure is more than double the number from 11,000 in 2016. Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet reported on Thursday that Turkey’s Health Ministry has set up a special website to inform the public about vaccines and fight false facts.
Meanwhile, the Australian government has introduced a bill, where parents cannot receive benefits if their kids are not vaccinated.