The new Lorenzin law came amid a surge in measles cases. Italian officials say vaccination rates have improved since it was introduced. The mandatory shots include chickenpox, polio and MMR.
Parents risk being fined up to €500 (US$560) if they send their children to school without vaccine documentation. Unvaccinated children under six will be excluded from nursery and kindergarten. Students aged 6-16 cannot be banned from attending school, but their parents face fines if they do not complete the mandatory course of immunizations.
The deadline for certification was due to be 10 March. In Bologna, the local authority has sent letters of suspension to the parents of some 300 children. In other areas there have been no reported cases, while still others have been given an extended period beyond the deadline.
The new law was passed to raise Italy’s vaccination rates from below 80% to the WHO’s 95% target – the point at which “herd immunity” kicks in – when enough of the population is vaccinated for the spread of the disease to become unlikely, thereby protecting those who are immunocompromised.