Italy changes laws over unvaccinated children attending school

Italian children have been told not to turn up for school or preschool if they are not vaccinated.

Children can not attend nursery schools unless they are vaccinated, and parents of elementary and middle school pupils risk fines of up to 500 euros if they don't have doctor's notes showing that their children were vaccinated against the required diseases. 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.

The mandatory vaccinations include chickenpox, polio, mumps, rubella, and - perhaps most crucially at this time - measles.

Following months of fiery debate - and measles outbreaks - a new law banning unvaccinated children from Italy's classrooms has come into effect.

"No vaccine, no school", Giulia Grillo, Italy's Minister of Health, told La Repubblica.

Children who are unable to get vaccinated due to medical reasons are exempt from the requirement.

The goal of the law, according to a government website, is to fight the gradual decline in Italy's vaccination rates.

Italy's so-called Lorenzin law, named after the former health minister who introduced it, states children must receive a set of mandatory injections before attending school.

But up until Tuesday, a temporary measure meant students could remain in school as long as their parents said they were vaccinated.

Regional authorities are taking care of the situation through different ways, report Italian media.

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.