Unvaccinated students not to attend school

A protestor speaks out against mandatory vaccination in Italy in July 2017. Italy's mandatory vaccination law came into effect in March 2019

Children under six can be barred from attending nursery schools and kindergartens if their parents fail to present written evidence that they have had the required vaccinations. The consequences for failing to comply with the legislation reportedly varies depending on how old the child is. However, a year ago the Health Ministry - headed by a member of the Five Star Movement political party, whose co-founder the paper noted has brought up conspiracy theories linking vaccination to autism - issued a temporary rule allowing parents to simply state the children had been vaccinated rather than receiving a note from a doctor.

And fines as high as roughly $560 could also be implemented if older children - ages 6 through 16 - are unvaccinated, according to the BBC.

Parents face up to USD570 fine in case they send their unvaccinated kids to school.

New data from Italy's health ministry suggests that the laws are making a difference, with 94 per cent of children having at least one dose of the measles vaccine in June 2018, up two per cent in just six months as parents may have vaccinated their children in anticipation of the new requirements.

"Italy's measles vaccine coverage was par with Namibia, lower than Ghana", San Raffaele University in Milan microbiology and virology professor Roberto Burioni told CNN a year ago.

The law was slated to go into effect at the beginning of the school year in September, but Italy's anti-establishment Five Star government voted to amend the law, meaning it could not go into effect ahead of the new school year.

The city of Bologna reportedly has at least 300 children who now do not comply with the vaccination requirements and are at risk of suspension from school.

"No vaccine, no school", said Giulia Grillo, the health minister. The BBC added that Italian media reported regional authorities are "handling the situation in a number of different ways", with no notices of suspension reported in some areas and grace periods allowed in others.

According to BBC, the new law came amid a surge in measles cases - but Italian officials say vaccination rates have improved since it was introduced.

Across the world, health authorities are grappling with a global resurgence of measles, with record numbers recorded in Europe and deadly outbreaks in the Philippines and Madagascar.

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