Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said last Friday that the policy of obligatory vaccinations for children prior to going to school is “useless” and in many cases “dangerous.”
Salvini announced that he will be reviewing legislation, allowing children in nurseries to avoid the 10 obligatory vaccines, giving parents a choice.
Italian law currently does not allow children to progress from nurseries to public schools without undertaking the 10 vaccinations regime. Vaccinations cover diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox. The law was introduced by the former Democratic Party Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin, and has become a rallying point for the 5-Star Movement (M5S.
Italy’s top immunologist Roberto Burioni Tweeted that the Interior Minister’s assertion is a “dangerous lie” and the ten vaccines regime is “neither useless nor harmful.”
The European Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said Friday that vaccines are one of the issues he will be discussing in his meeting with the new Italian Minister of Health, Giulia Grillo. Grillo is a member of the Five-Star Movement (MS5) but has no family relation to the former leader Beppe Grillo. Moreover, unlike many in her movement, Giulia Grillo believes vaccines are necessary.
The MS5 championed a movement against obligatory vaccinations, with Beppe Grillo personally linking obligatory jabs to autism. Scrapping obligatory vaccines has been the party’s official policy since 2015. As a result, the Italian population has seen a reduction in immunization, which is now below 95% of the population.
The World Health Organization says a population requires 95% coverage to be protected against measles; Italy is the only EU member state along with Romania to experience a recent outbreak of measles.