The law on compulsory vaccination in Italy: an update 2 years after the introduction

Fortunato D'Ancona, Claudio D'Amario, Francesco Maraglino, Giovanni Rezza, Stefania Iannazzo

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Abstract

Italy introduced a national law extending the number of compulsory vaccines from four to 10 in July 2017. The implementation placed a further burden on immunisation centres as they were required to cover the increased demand of vaccination by the parents of unvaccinated children. Vaccine coverage (VC) estimated 6 months and 1 year later, at 24 and 30 months (same birth cohort), had increased for all vaccines. At 24 months of age, measles VC increased from 87.3% in 2016 to 91.8% in 2017 and 94.1% at 30 months of age as at June 2018. In six of 21 regions and autonomous provinces, VC for measles was >95%. Despite the implementation of this law, vaccine hesitancy is still a problem in Italy and the political and social debate on mandatory vaccination is ongoing. Regardless of the policy to be adopted in the future, strategies to maintain high vaccination rates and the related herd immunity should be considered, including adequate communication to the population and the implementation of electronic immunisation registries.

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