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France to Require All Parents Vaccinate Their Children

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France will require all parents vaccinate their children, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced in a speech on Wednesday. The announcement follows a warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) that measles is spreading across Europe, despite vaccines which can prevent the virus, Independent reported.

France currently requires all children to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and polio, and will add eight more required vaccinations — pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae bacteria, pneumococcus and meningococcus C — starting in 2018.

France is not the only country to have a rise in measles. In 2017, CNN reported 73 confirmed cases of measles in Minnesota, compared to 70 cases of measles in the entire U.S. in 2016, a majority of whom were unvaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is likely a result of antivaccination sentiments surrounding the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine.

“Measles is a dangerous and vaccine-preventable disease. There is no reason to decline MMR unless the individual is too young to be vaccinated or has a severe immunodeficiency and they cannot be vaccinated,” Patricia Stinchfield, director of infection prevention and control for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, told CNN. “The reason we vaccinate is because of the potential for infection of the brain or lungs that can cause permanent and lasting damage. Death from measles is one to two per 1,000 cases because there is no antiviral medicine against measles. All we can do is provide IV fluids, oxygen and support and hope they survive,” she said.

Many antivaxxers falsely claim the MMR vaccine causes autism spectrum disorder, a statement which has been repeatedly disproven. In 1998, the Lancet published a study which claimed autism was linked to the MMR vaccine. The publication then retracted the study in 2010 after scientists were unable to replicate its findings, and the study’s author, Andrew Wakefield, lost his medical license.

France now joins Italy in mandating vaccines. In Italy, to attend a state-sponsored school, all children must be vaccinated.

Originally published: July 6, 2017
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