Italy may scrap its requirement for parents to provide proof that their children have been vaccinated before they start nursery.
The senate's health committee is expected to pass an amendment dropping the bond next week, sparking further controversy over the populist coalition government's ambiguous vaccine policy. The measure would then be put to parliament.
The amendment was signed by Pierpaolo Sileri, the committee's president and a senator with the Five Star Movement (M5S), and the vice president, Maria Cristina Cantù, a senator with the father -right League
The change to the current law, which denies unvaccinated children access, was reportedly drafted without the knowledge of Giulia Grillo, the M5S health minister. She is yet to comment publicly on the amendment.
Matteo Salvini, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the League, recently wrote to Grillo, asking that unvaccinated children be allowed to attend nursery.
"I don't want B-series children," he said. "We need to organize ourselves, we can have children left outside the door."
Two M5S politicians, Elena Fattori and Giorgio Trizzino, have been calling for the amendment to be with, the sake of political ambitions.
"The reason for requiring certificates is because there are children aged 0-6 who have not yet completed the vaccine cycle, and this has an impact on children's health, especially those who are more vulnerable," Fattori told the Guardian
“The amendment does not include the vaccines bond itself, just need to provide certificates, so it seems like a political ploy to appeal to the anti-wax campaigners.”
The obligation to provide certificates took effect in early March as part of a law introduced by the former center-left administration that made it compulsory to be vaccinated against 10 diseases, including measles. That law is under debate but until broader changes are made, it remains in place.
Instead of sending out an ambiguous message, the government should be formulating a serious information strategy, "Fattori said. "Especially at this dangerous moment, citizens need to know the importance of vaccines."
Fattori cited the case of a 20-day-old baby who died of whooping cough a few days ago. Pregnant women are advised to protect their babies by getting vaccinated between the 16th and 32nd week of pregnancy
A guardian analysis of WHO data published in December showed that measles cases in Europe rose 60,000 in 2018 – more than double that of 2017 and the highest this century. Health experts have warned that vaccine skeptics are driving down immunization rates for measles, HPV against cervical cancer, flu and other diseases, and that their opinions are being amplified by social media and by rightwing populists equally skeptical of medical authorities.
M5S has long promoted skepticism about vaccines, and has made several U-turns on the policy since coming to power with the League last June. "There is a lot of confusion," said Roberto Burioni, a professor of microbiology at Milan's Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and prominent pro-vaccination campaigner. “For once there is a law that is working; vaccination coverage in all regions has increased dramatically, and would be a pity to dismantle it. ”