Italy makes 12 vaccines mandatory for school-age children

MILAN (AP) — The Italian government has made 12 vaccines mandatory for children attending schools up to age 16 in an effort to combat what it characterizes as misinformation.

The measures approved Friday follow an intense public debate over vaccines after a measles outbreak and political sniping over accusations that the populist 5-Star movement had emboldened anti-vaccine advocates.

Premier Paolo Gentiloni told a news conference that the new rules aimed to combat "anti-scientific theories" that have lowered vaccination rates in recent years.

The government approved making 12 vaccines, including measles, rubella and chickenpox, mandatory starting this September for children entering school.

Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said children will not be accepted into nursery or pre-schools without proof of vaccinations, while parents of school-age children will face hefty fines for noncompliance.