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Health

Italy Has Now Vaccinated 95% Of Children Against 6 Diseases

Nearly all young children heading to school in Italy this year share one important thing in common: they’re vaccinated.

The Italian government announced on Monday that the country has reached its vaccination goal after enforcing a new law that made vaccines mandatory for children attending nurseries and schools, Giovanni Rezza, the head of the infectious diseases department of Italy's Higher Health Institute (ISS) said.

"We have over 95% of children vaccinated for the six-in-one vaccine, so the threshold that makes it possible to have collected immunity has been reached," Rezza told ANSA. "We've had an increase of about 6% for the measles (vaccine) so we are close to that threshold in this case too.”

Take Action: Vaccines Should Be Accessible and Affordable For All

The six-in-one vaccine protects against diphtheria, hepatitis B, haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pertussis (whooping cough), polio and tetanus.

The coverage provided by the six-in-one vaccine is just the beginning.

The government introduced the rule that made 12 vaccinations — including measles — mandatory for children attending preschool and school following measles outbreaks in Italy in 2017, according to The Conversation.

Parents have to provide proof of vaccination when they enroll their children, and they are not able to to opt out.

Read More: ‘Life-Threatening’ Measles Infections Tripled Across Europe in 2017

Unvaccinated children can still be enrolled but parents will face fines of €500 to €7,500, according to The Conversation.

Rezza said that the objective of the governmental decision was not to punish parents who do not vaccinated their children, but to increase the vaccination rates.

"Vaccines, above all, are a right," he said.

The deadline for parents to vaccinate their children passed last weekend, according to ANSA.

As of last week, there were an estimated 30,000 children who had not yet met the vaccination requirements.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including issues related to global health. Vaccines play an important role in ensuring global health security. You can take action here.