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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Italian Official Quits, Cites Government's Anti-Science Stance

In 2017 Italy required vaccinations for pre-schoolers. The Five Star Movement, opposed the move, appealing to the belief that vaccines cause autism. The movement is now part of a coalition government.

The president of Italy's national health research organisation on Wednesday January 2nd said he had been driven to resign due the "anti-scientific" policies of the country's populist government including efforts to undermine confidence in vital vaccinations.

Professor Walter Ricciardi of the National Health Institute (ISS) said an aversion to evidence-based policy among the coalition of Italy's far-right League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) put public health at risk.

"Representatives of the government have endorsed unscientific or frankly anti-scientific positions on many issues," he said in an interview with the Corriere della Sera daily.
"It's clear that when the deputy prime minister says that he, as a father, believes there are too many obligatory, useless and dangerous vaccines, that's not just unscientific, it's anti-scientific," he said in reference to League head Matteo Salvini.
 "And yet these are issues that are decisive for public health," he said. "All this reminds me of Donald Trump's recommendation to the US National Health Institute to no longer use the term 'evidence-based'. "It's an approach taken by populists, who have great difficulty in interacting with science," Ricciardi added.