By: Adeeb Bayat | Writer
March 15, 2019
On Tuesday, March 12, Italy finally implemented its ban on unvaccinated children attending K-12 school.
After months of heated debate, Italy finally set in stone the law which they had warned would take effect, hoping parents would finally vaccinate their children. This law came from a necessity for some government intervention in Italy’s plummeting vaccine rates. The World Health Organization recommends that a country have a minimum of 95 percent of its population vaccinated to promote the “Herd Effect”. The “Herd Effect” is when so much of a population is vaccinated that a potential disease has no hosts to spread on. This allows those who cannot get vaccines, very young children, and people with compromised immune systems to have natural protection from preventable diseases such as smallpox.
Italy’s declining vaccination rates follow a disturbing trend of worldwide declining and plateauing vaccination rates. Vaccination rates underwent a sharp increase in the 80’s, however the widespread fake news surrounding the effects of vaccines have caused vaccination rates to slow since the year 2000.
“Everybody should get vaccinated,” senior Sofie Sarpa said. “It’s crazy that some people still believe that vaccines can cause things like autism.”
All of the anti-vaccine sentiments stem from one controversial study in 1998 which found a link between vaccines and autism. This study has been countlessly and undoubtedly proven to be false, yet anti-vaccine activists continue to quote this article when they claim that vaccines have unwanted side-effects. Additionally, “anti-vaxxers” believe that Big Pharma is skewing study results so that they can make millions selling vaccines to the public. This claim is definitively false as hundreds of studies have been published confirming that vaccines do much more good than any potential harm.
“The fact that a debunked study from the 90’s is still being used by anti-vaxxers to justify their choice shows that they do not have the evidence to back up their ridiculous claims” senior Olivia Avalos said.
Because Italy had been seeing declining vaccine rates, they also began to see a revival of the measles disease which had previously been considered eradicated. The revival of measles is what pushed the Italian government from considering the law, to fully implementing it. Now, any student sent to school with the mandatory ten vaccines required under Italian law runs the risk of being turned away, with the parents being able to be fined up to 500 euros.