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We cannot deny the importance of Immunization

By Jim Gathany - This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #5404.Note: Not all PHIL images are public domain; be sure to check copyright status and credit authors a

Italian citizens demonstrated a few months ago against compulsory vaccination. In France parents have been brought to justice because they refused to have their child vaccinated. Clearly, today most European public health authorities want to get tough on parents who reject the very principle of an immunization. Italy is set up to make 12 vaccinations for school children compulsory. France's new Minister of Health plans to set up a programme of 11 vaccinations compulsory. This is a firm response in an era of growing suspicion regarding vaccinations across Europe. It should still be recalled that some of the more zealous opponents to any immunization are considering that compulsory vaccination would be a "breach of fundamental human rights". Such a statement is to say the least, debatable. Indeed, and in clear contradiction with the ideology of "anti-waxxors", the figures provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) speak for themselves: vaccines save 2.5 million lives a year around the world. However, are mandatory vaccinations policies more efficient than campaigns to inform and recommend the critical vaccinations for children? On this particular issue, the debate has not yet been settled. For example, and according to the WHO immunization coverage has reached 99% in France for the DTP which is compulsory for children. And it is roughly the same rate which was reported in Germany. But in this latter country this vaccination is only encouraged. Nevertheless, as regards the immunization itself it is undoubtedly a great achievement for humankind.

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