New Italian law requires students to be vaccinated or face repercussions

Italian parents have been told to keep their kids home from school unless they are able to prove they have been properly vaccinated - or risk having to open up their wallet.

Parents are now facing fines if their unvaccinated children attend school.

A 2017 law mandated children enrolled in Italian schools receive 10 different vaccines, the Times wrote, in "response to a worrisome decline in vaccinations nationwide and a measles outbreak that same year".

Nursery school and kindergarten programs will not accept children ages 6 and below unless their immunizations can be verified, the outlet said.

A policy named after former health minister, the Lorenzin law, makes it compulsory for children under six to get a range of immunizations before attending school. A recent report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control found that Italy reported 165 cases of measles in January 2019, one of the highest numbers in Europe.

Following months of fiery debate - and measles outbreaks - a new law banning unvaccinated children from Italy's classrooms has come into effect. "Now, children who are not vaccinated will endanger other children at school who are too small for vaccines or can not be vaccinated because they suffer from immunosuppressive diseases".

The deadline for parents to arrange vaccinations and get relevant paperwork updated was extended to Monday 11 March, and hundreds of letters of suspension have reportedly already been sent out by local authorities.

"No vaccine, no school", she said of the new rules.

The law came in the wake of measles outbreaks - 5,000 people in Italy got the illness past year, and four died. With rates below 80 percent, the country lags far behind the World Health Organization's 95 percent target.

The BBC wrote that the law was passed to bolster flagging Italian vaccination rates, which is in part due to a growing movement of anti-vaccination activists (widely known as antiaxxers).

Vanessa Coleman