Parents in Italy have been advised not to send their children to school without them having received 10 compulsory vaccinations, according to new legislation.
The new laws mean that parents are now putting themselves at risk of being fined up to €500 (£432/$564) if they do send their child to school unvaccinated.
The new law has proved controversial in Italy. Credit: PA
The new legislation was introduced following a surge in measles cases - now officials in Italy say that the vaccination rates have improved since it was brought into action. Well, you'd hope so, given your child's education has been put on the line.
Children aged between six and 16 can't be turned away from attending school, but their parents can face fines if they don't ensure the necessary immunisations have been administered.
A ban, however, will affect children under six who attend kindergarten and nursery without having received the vaccinations.
According to the BBC, the deadline for certification was due to be 10 March after a previous delay - but as that fell on a weekend, it was extended to Monday (18 March).
Health Minister Giulia Grillo told La Repubblica newspaper: "Now everyone has had time to catch up."
Ms Grillo added that the rules were now simple: "No vaccine, no school." She's not messing around.
Health Minister Giulia Grillo. Credit: PA
Under Italy's Lorenzin law - named after the former health minister who introduced it - children must have a range of immunisations before they can attend school.
They include vaccinations for polio, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, pertussis, measles, rubella, mumps, chicken pox and Haemophilus influenzae type B.
Children that are unable to be vaccinated due to medical conditions are exempt from the requirement and can therefore attend school.
Stock image of a child getting vaccinated. Credit: PA
The BBC reported that in Bologna, the local authority has sent letters of suspension to the parents of around 300 children, and a total of 5,000 children do not have their vaccine documentation up to date.
In other areas there have been no reported cases, while some have been given a grace period of a few days beyond the deadline.
The legislation was passed in a bid to tackle the country's plummeting vaccination rates, which dropped to 80 percent. They are expected to be at the World Health Organisation's target of 95 percent.
Some parents aren't happy with the law and would prefer not to vaccinate their children against the possibility of picking up certain diseases. Over recent years we have seen the anti-vaccination movement grow globally.
Featured Image Credit: PA