Italy makes 12 vaccines mandatory for school-age children

The country’s cabinet approved the law on Friday meaning children up to age six will now need to be immunized to attend school

The country’s cabinet approved the law on Friday meaning children up to age six will now need to be immunized to attend school

The vaccinations will be required in order for children to be eligible for nursery school, affecting newborns to children who are three years of age, and for those attending kindergarten (three to six years old).

'The lack of appropriate measures over the years and the spread of anti-scientific theories, especially in recent months, has brought about a reduction in protection, ' Gentiloni told a news conference in Rome.

The country's health institute recorded 2,395 cases of measles so far this year, which is a stark increase to the 840 recorded in all of 2016, and 250 in 2015.

Paola Ferrara, 5-Star's leader in city hall, said the party had abstained because of the pending vote in parliament, and considered vaccinations "essential".

Health authorities have repeatedly warned against the risks of a rise in infectious diseases due to the drop in vaccinations.

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The law was proposed by the country's health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, who has always been campaigning for mandatory vaccination amid the growing popularity of the science-skeptic movement against it. Lorenzin previously urged the parents to "not be afraid", sharing a photo of her three-month-old twins getting vaccinated.

Gentiloni's centre-left government has accused the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of sowing fear among parents by questioning the safety of some vaccines and the scruples of multinational pharmaceutical firms. The public in Italy has been highly receptive to the debunked link about vaccines causing autism.

While acknowledging that vaccination had contributed to the victory over some of the world's most serious and unsafe diseases, Grillo said that they still "bring a risk associated with side-effects" and are aiding pharmaceutical companies across the world.

"5-Star is riding the wave of disinformation, nourishing fear and favoring a position that is anti-science and risky for the whole community", said Federico Gelli, a deputy from the ruling Democratic Party.

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