Italy has passed a controversial mandatory vaccination law for children under the age of 16, but as expected a huge public backlash has arisen over what critics are calling a serious attack on parental and medical freedom.
Thousands of parents and protesters took to the streets in at least 21 Italian cities on June 3; followed up a little over a week later with a National Day of Protest on June 11 (an event mostly ignored or at best downplayed by the U.S. mainstream media).
Protesters marched against the restrictive law while chanting slogans such as, “No to mandatory vaccines! Yes to the freedom to choose!” into megaphones according to this report from NPR, but the concern is whether or not their calls are falling on deaf ears.
The law, originally proposed by Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin, passed this May with a 296-92 vote in Italy’s parliament that included 15 abstentions. It was passed amid reports of a measles outbreak in the country of over 2,500 cases that officials have charged to a drop in vaccination rates.
Originally, the new law included 12 vaccines, but later the number was lowered to ten mandatory shots, including measles, rubella, chickenpox, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, and hepatitis B.
Not only will unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated children not be accepted into nurseries or pre-schools, parents who aren’t able to provide a vaccination certificate of proof will be fined each year.
Original reports quoted up to 7,500 euros ($8396) in fines, but later reported that number to be lowered to about 500 euros ($588).
There has also been talk that unvaccinated children may potentially be taken away from their parents.
Because of harsh punishments with non-compliance and freedoms that have been taken away, a health official Sonia Viale called the law a “return to fascism.”
The law has also been met with high resistance from protesters, including some who have personally witnessed vaccine injuries inflicted on their children. One of the protectors spoke out:
“I am here as a parent, as a parent of a child who, unfortunately, has been damaged by a hexavalent vaccine. I am a parent who has tried to follow the path of the law and I have found myself in front of shameful situations, when the state courts consider vaccine injured kids as, allow me to say, the town’s idiots, the losers.”
(A hexavalent vaccine is a 6-in-1 vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, Haemophilus influenzae type B and hepatitis B).
Meanwhile, as Italy and other countries continue to advance legislation that mandates vaccines and threatens the medical freedom of parents, other areas are deciding to go in a different direction.
Sweden rejected seven motions to make vaccinations mandatory over “serious health concerns” and “frequent adverse reactions in children.”
These frequent adverse reactions include seizures, heart problems, increased tumor risk, and even death.
Why does the Italian government not see this as an issue?
In the aforementioned NPR article, wildly popular Italian comedian Beppe Grillo and leader of the country’s 5-Star Movement, a major populist party, was blamed as a major contributor to the ongoing vaccine backlash in the country. A well known 1998 comedy skit was one of the biggest starting points for Grillo and his party’s vaccine safety activism. Members of his party have also made references to vaccines being linked to increased autism risk.
The government also says that concerns over vaccinations are caused by ‘misinformation.’
But this argument doesn’t hold water after examining the full inserts of vaccines, which clearly show the seriousness of potential side effects.
One of the protesters shared this vital piece of information as to why the country has become a vaccine safety and medical freedom battleground:
“In 2014 in Washington, during the visit of Lorenzin, Italy was chosen to be the world leader of vaccine strategy. The problem is not the vaccines per se, the problem is that Glaxo is inside our Ministry.”
The Five Star Movement, an Italian political party considered to be anti-establishment, also called this new law a gift to pharmaceutical companies.
Daily newspaper Il Sole 24 reported in 2015 that pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline will invest over 1 billion euros in Italy.
For Italy, still recovering from the 2007 financial crisis, that is a whole lot of cash. The Italian pharmaceutical companies have also been growing steadily – about 3% every year, and have become the financial “hero” for the country.
Is the new vaccination law at least partly because of this pressure?
Watch Italian protests:
Editor’s note: the “millions” figure above was not sourced and no official number has been given in U.S. media reports.
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