500 Milan families still to complete vaccination

Deadline for school admittance 7 September.

Even though obligatory vaccination coverage in Lombardy for children up to 6 years has reached 95 per cent, there are still some 500 families in Milan who need to complete the formalities by Friday 7 September, or risk having children refused entry to school.

Milan has set up a help centre at Alzaia Naviglio Grande 20 for parents whose documentation is still not complete or who are not clear about their duties. Deputy mayoress Anna Scavuzzo has warned that children who cannot present a vaccination certificate – or at the minimum a certificate proving that a firm appointment has been made to carry out the vaccination – will not be admitted to school.

For the around 10,000 children in Italy whose weak immune system would make vaccination dangerous, a doctor’s certificate will also be acceptable.

The situation has been complicated by mixed signals from the authorities.  While the controversial law bearing the name of former health minister Beatrice Lorenzin, hotly contested by anti-vaccination protesters, is fully valid and makes vaccination obligatory for school admission, it appears to be contradicted by ministerial circulars stating that self-certification could be enough.

Meanwhile, some doctors’ associations are insisting that unvaccinated children should not be admitted to classrooms.  And Antonello Giannelli, president of the national head teachers’ association, testifying this week in parliament, warned of a grave health risk if unvaccinated children were to be admitted to school.

Also reporting to parliament, Gianni Rezza, head of the infective diseases department at the Higher Health Institute, played down the “no-vax” movement of objectors.  While they are vociferous and have achieved a high media profile, he stated, they represent only a misguided 0.7 per cent of the population.