In an ironic example of why vaccinations are necessary, an Italian far-right politician who’s an outspoken critic of Italy’s mandatory vaccine policies has contracted the chicken pox.
According to The Independent, Massimiliano Fedriga was diagnosed with the virus last week and was treated at a local hospital. Fedriga opposed legislation that prevents children from attending daycare or pre-school if they are unvaccinated against 12 childhood diseases. The law also imposes heavy fines on parents who forgo vaccination.
Fedriga has declared in the past that the law amounts to parent being “coerced,” calling proponents of the law “Stalinist.”
In a Facebook post after his hospitalization, Fedriga attempted to clarify that he’s not against vaccination and slammed the “celebratory comments on Twitter” in regards to his hospital stay.
“I have always said that I am in favor of vaccines, but to achieve the result it is necessary to have an alliance with families not imposition,” he wrote.
“They even said I would get chicken pox from my children, not knowing that my children are vaccinated, as I have stated in interviews,” he added.
Vaccines have become a contentious subject in Italy which has seen a rise in anti-vaccine sentiment. According to researchers, Italy’s vaccination rates dropped from the World Health Organization’s recommended 95 percent target to the mid-to-low 80 percentile range.
Italy’s vaccine law came about after a surge in cases of measles hit the country with the number of infected reaching 5,004 in 2017, giving the country the second highest measles rate in Europe.
In some cases, Italy’s own government has helped spread anti-vaccine hysteria. In 2012, an Italian court ruled that a child’s autism was caused by the MMR vaccine — a decision that gave credence to a debunked 1998 study that sparked today’s anti-vaccine movement.
According to the World Health Organization, 93 to 95 percent of a population must be vaccinated in order to attain the required “herd immunity” necessary to stave off disease — a target that Italy has lagged behind before the mandatory vaccine law was introduced in 2017.
Featured image via Massimiliano Fedriga/Facebook