GIOVENTU » Italy's measles epidemic

Italy's measles epidemic

Italians don't want to vaccinate their children any-more! As a consequence the country is experiencing an outbreak of measles epidemic after a fall-off in vaccinations.

According to the Italian health ministry there have been almost 1,500 registered cases of measles this year, while in 2016 they were 840 and 250 in 2015. The compulsory vaccinations in Italy are those against polio, tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis B. At the moment Children can be admitted to school even if they haven't presented the vaccinations certificate. The health minister Lorenzin announced a new draft law to make the vaccinations included in the national vaccine plan 2017-19 compulsory in order to be admitted to school. 


Measles vaccination has never been compulsory but, like many others, it is a potentially fatal disease harming the weakest newborns. The Five Star Movement was blamed by the governing centre-left party, for the surge in measles cases. The Higher Health Institute reported that around 85% of two-year-olds are being vaccinated against measles at present, a figure well below the 95% threshold recommended by the World Health Organisation to block the illness.


The Five Star Movement spread concern among parents by questioning the safety of some vaccines and denouncing efforts to make vaccinations mandatory. In 2015  Beppe Grillo, the M5S founder wrote that vaccinations are a gift for multinational pharmaceutical firms and present a risk associated with side-effects.  


Also the vaccine against Hpv has been the centre of controversy since when the program “Report”, broadcast by RAI, highlighted the possible side-effects of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer. Health officials accused RAI of being unnecessarily alarmist.


The vaccine against Hpv is the first cancer vaccine developed by the researchers. “Report” cited a review of last year's Nordic Cochrane Center accusing the European Medicines Agency (EMA) of underestimating adverse reactions. According to Ema, the benefits of the vaccine against Papilloma Virus, which protects against cervical tumour, are far superior to the disadvantages. Nordic Cochrane Center criticizes the fact that all the relevant data has been spread by pharmaceutical companies.


The president of the virology Italian society, Giorgio Palù commented that the correlation between the vaccine's side effects, which in the TV programme was attributed to chemical adjuvants and other potential metal contaminants, was denied by in-depth research and studies carried out on hundreds of thousands of patients. Scientific evidence shows unequivocally how the anti-Hpv vaccine has an excellent safety profile and an extraordinary efficacy in dramatically reducing the incidence of Hpv infection, and precancerous lesions in those who had been vaccinated. 

Giulia Lombardo

»Back to: GIOVENTU