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Unvaccinated children in Italy banned from preschool under new law

14 March 2019

Italian schools have begun turning away children who have not received mandatory vaccinations after a temporary waiver expired, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, with at least 300 children told they could not attend kindergarten in the city of Bologna this week. The consequences for failing to comply with the legislation reportedly varies depending on how old the child is.

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

Those aged between six and 16 can not be banned from attending school, but their parents face fines if they do not complete the mandatory course of immunisations.

The two parties that make up Italy's government - The League and the Five Star Movement - had criticised the policy of compulsory vaccinations, both before and after they came to power last summer. The mandatory vaccinations include chickenpox, polio, mumps, rubella, and - perhaps most crucially at this time - measles.

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Parents are now facing fines if their unvaccinated children attend school.

The deadline for certification of vaccinations was March 10, but because it fell on a weekend it was extended to Monday.

"No vaccine, no school", said Giulia Grillo, the health minister.

There have been protests over the law changes around vaccinations in Italy. 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. With rates below 80 percent, the country lags far behind the World Health Organization's 95 percent target.

Unvaccinated children in Italy banned from preschool under new law