Ministry of Health prepares law that makes vaccinating children compulsory

Newsroom 05/10/2015 | 15:16

The draft that will make vaccination compulsory in the case of children, which also includes penalties for parents who refuse to do so, will be completed by the end of the year, according to the Ministry of Health, quoted by Mediafax newswire.

The bill stipulates the eight vaccines that are compulsory in the case of children. These are the vaccines against hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps and rubella.

The BCG vaccine, against severe tuberculosis, may also be included on the list.   

According to the bill, ”it is compulsory to inform the parent and the consent is presumed.”

Parents who are against vaccination must sign a statement saying they refuse to accept it, or else the vaccination will be carried out by default, writes Mediafax.

To enroll the child in public or private kindergartens, parents must prove that they vaccinated their children against these diseases, with the exception of those children who ”have proof they were advised by the doctor against certain vaccines.”

“It is a project developed by epidemiology specialists, family doctors, representatives of the Ministry of Health, the National Agency of Drugs and Medical Equipment. This is not the final form of the law. I also have some amendments concerning those who refuse vaccination. If the parents refuse the children’s vaccination, there might be a problem for their children to continue the school, and this is a matter where we can discuss more,” said the Minister of Health Nicolae Banicioiu, quoted by Mediafax newswire.

The Ministry of Health expects the draft will be complete by the end of the year, after debates that can bring the necessary corrections and completions. Banicioiu said the bill can later be filled in with the amendments after the bill reaches Parliament. The project may come into force probably in the second half of next year.

The bill stipulates explicitly that one of the responsibility of the parets is to ensure the complete vaccination of the children, corresponding to their age, so as to ensure the right to health.”

However, the parents are not included in the categories that are eligible for a fine, if they do not comply.

Penalties that range between RON 5,000 and RON 10,000 can be applied to kindergartens and schools who accept to enroll children without the vaccination certification from the doctor. The public health departments that do not preserve the vaccines in good conditions, the family doctors and doctors involved in the vaccination process who have three violations of the law are also eligible to fines.

The local authorities that do not identify cases of child medical negligence will be fined a sum ranging from RON 2,500 to RON 5,000.

The schools that break the law and still maintain children as part of groups a year after the calendar for vaccination was set and do not announce the vaccination county commission (with the exception of children who benefit from an exemption), will also receive a penalty.

Penalties between RON 500 and RON 1,000 will be received by public health directions, family doctors and the schools that do not suspend the unvaccinated children in case an infection breaks out. The penalties are applied by the county public health directions.

Apart from the compulsory vaccines, the draft also stipulates other three categories of vaccines: vaccines for special situations, such as epidemics, vaccines for risk groups, such as certain chronic patients, and optional vaccines. With the exception of the last group, the vaccines are financed from the funds of the Ministry of Health and the National Health Insurance House.

In Bucharest, the vaccination rate dropped by 19 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. This is due to shortages in vaccines supply, the lack of information of the population and the parents’ refuse to vaccinate their children, according to Mediafax.

Otilia Haraga

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