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France mandates vaccines – saving children from diseases

During an address to Parliament on Tuesday, Édouard Philippe, who serves as prime minister under new liberal president Emmanuel Macron, stated that starting next year, France mandates vaccines for all children. It will mandate vaccines for young children that are unanimously recommended by health authorities starting next year.

Three vaccines, for diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis, are already mandatory in France. Vaccines that would become compulsory under the new law would be pertussis, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) , hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae bacteria, pneumococcus and meningococcus C.

Phillipe said, in his speech, that “children are still dying of measles. In the homeland of [Louis] Pasteur that is not admissible.” Legendary scientist Pasteur is one of the founders of the field of bacteriology and invented vaccines for anthrax and rabies. 

France mandates vaccines – what prompted it?

There appears to be two reasons for these vaccine mandates. First, there have been several large measles outbreaks across Europe, particularly in France. In January and February 2017, there were 79 cases of measles in the country. And from 2008 through 2016, there were more than 24,000 cases of measles in France. Of those cases, over 1,500 had seriously complications, and there were 10 deaths from the disease. Most of these cases would have been prevented by the MMR vaccine.

Second, in May, the Italian government made a similar decision – children in Italy must be vaccinated against the 12 most common preventable diseases. If the children are not vaccinated by the time they start school at age 6, the parents will be fined. At the time, the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that vaccinations had been decreasing, partly because of a “spread of anti-scientific theories.” One of those is that myth that vaccines cause autism, which is demonstrably false.

It is unclear how France will implement mandates of vaccines. It’s possible that it will require vaccination before any student can enter state run schools, which make up the vast majority of schools in the country. This could be similar to California’s SB277, a 2015 law which required full vaccinations for any student entering school, eliminating all person belief exemptions (though still allowing for medical exemptions).

Or France could use Italy’s model, which fines the parents. The French parliament will work out the details during the next few months.

France mandates vaccines – the summary

The outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases, due to lowered vaccine uptake rates, concerns public health authorities and governments across the world. The lower vaccination rates are almost always a result of unscientific nonsense embraced by the vaccine refuser.

Public health institutions, like the CDC and WHO, have limited power to convince people of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines – they have to rely upon logical, careful pleading. They cannot mandate these vaccines.

So governments, like France and Italy, have no choice but to reject the anti-science beliefs and subsequently mandate vaccines to protect children from diseases that can kill. Maybe if France had mandated these vaccines 10 years ago, the 10 children who died from measles would be alive now, sharing wonderful lives with their parents.

Right now, only California, West Virginia and Mississippi, in the United States,  eliminate all personal belief exemptions and mandate that children must be fully vaccinated before entering school. West Virginia and Mississippi have some of the highest vaccination rates in the country, and even after just one year, California’s rates are way up.

I hope that this is the early part of the trend to make vaccines mandatory. There simply is little to no evidence that vaccines are anything but safe and effective, and most of the reasons used by the anti-vaccine crowd is easily debunked with the simplest of scientific reasoning.

Let’s see what happens. But protecting little children seems to be a cause which most governments can support.


Michael Simpson

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