Italy bans unvaccinated children from school

Children in Italy have been told they will not be allowed to attend school, unless they can prove they have been fully vaccinated.

After months of debate, parents now risk a hefty fine if they send their children to school without vaccinations- up to NZ$800.

Under Lorenzin law - named after the health minister who introduced it - children must be vaccinated against chickenpox, polio, measles, mumps and rubella.

Without proof of vaccination, children under six will be excluded from kindergarten.

Children between six and 16 cannot be banned - but their parents will be fined.

The deadline for all children to be vaccinated was March 10th, but as this fell on a weekend it was extended to Monday, reports BBC.

"Now everyone has time to catch up," Health Minister Giulia Grillo told La Repubblica newspaper.

The new law follows a surge of measles cases in Italy. Officials say vaccination rates have improved since the new law was introduced.

Italy's vaccination rates were below 80 percent before the law. Now, new figures show the vaccination rates are very close to 95 percent, which is the figure at which herd immunity kicks in.

Herd immunity means enough of the population is vaccinated to protect those who cannot be vaccinated, such as people with compromised immune systems, or young babies.