Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Communicable Disease

Compulsory vaccination and growing measles threat

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 20 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3429
  1. Sophie Arie, journalist, London, UK
  1. sarie{at}

Some countries are taking tough action to ensure uptake of vaccination is sufficient to provide herd immunity, writes Sophie Arie

Many European countries have been experiencing outbreaks of measles, leading to concern about vaccine coverage rates.1 France and Italy, which have reported six and 4.5 times the number of new measles cases, respectively, in the first six months of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016,1 are making 11 and 12 WHO recommended childhood vaccinations compulsory, with Italy’s law going into effect immediately and France’s from 2018.

In Italy, children may be prevented from registering at nurseries and schools if they have not been immunised unless they have a proved medical contraindication, and parents could be fined up to €7500 (£6600; $8600).2 It is not clear yet what penalties France will impose.

Germany, where there were 76 new cases in the first half of this year compared with 130 in the same period of 2016, now requires schools to report parents to the authorities if they cannot provide proof they …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription