In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.
Health system in #Italy has taken a dark turn from a govt promoting phony "medical freedom" & "choice" over the rights of children to be protected against deadly diseases. Similar pseudo-populism now in western #USA states including TX OR WA ID UT AR @CNN https://t.co/82nL2yy8Yz— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) August 8, 2018
An amendment from Italy's anti-establishment government that removes mandatory vaccination for schoolchildren is sending shock waves through the country's scientific and medical community.
It suspends for a year a law that requires parents to provide proof of 10 routine vaccinations when enrolling their children in nurseries or preschools. The amendment was approved by Italy's upper house of parliament on Friday by 148 to 110 votes and still has to pass the lower house.
The law had originally been introduced by the Democratic Party in July 2017 amid an ongoing outbreak of measles that saw 5,004 cases reported in 2017 -- the second-highest figure in Europe after Romania -- according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Italy accounted for 34% of all measles cases reported by countries in the European Economic Area, the center said.
The anti-vax vote is significant in Italy, with widespread distrust of vaccinations dating back to a later debunked and retracted 1998 study that claimed to show a link between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. As late as 2012, a court in Italy ruled that a child’s autism had been caused by the MMR vaccine, fueling the anti-vaccination movement. That ruling was overturned in 2015, but its effect seems to linger: A 2017 study of Italian internet habits between 2010 and 2015 found a connection between search and social media activity around the MMR vaccine and lower vaccination rates.
After the Five Star Movement and the League formed a coalition government in May, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said that the 10 mandatory vaccines were “useless and in many cases dangerous, if not harmful.”
Health Minister Giulia Grillo says requiring 10 vaccines threatens “school inclusion” and that the government want to “simplify rules for parents.”