'Vaccination Bill' advances

Minister clear way for bill to ban unvaccinated students from schools following measles outbreak.

Gary Willig,

Measles positive
Measles positive
iStock

Several ministers advanced a bill to allow authorities to ban students who have not received proper vaccinations from schools.

The 'Vaccination Bill' was proposed following an outbreak of measles among children whose parents refused to have them vaccinated, primarily from the fringes of the haredi community.

The bill states that “in circumstances when there is a concern of an outbreak of disease against which there is a routine vaccination, educational institutes will prevent the entry to the institute any child, teacher or other person who is not vaccinated against the disease, according to the directions of the director-general of the Health Ministry, for a suitable period.”

The law would apply to all educational institutions in Israel, including preschools and universities. Children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons would have to obtain he approval of a medical expert to be allowed into school.

The bill was proposed by Zionist Union MK Yoel Hasson in the opposition and Jewish Home MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli in the coalition, and has received support from across the political spectrum.

“We must deal with parents who do not vaccinate for lack of knowledge or for ideological reasons to bring about improved public health,” Moalem-Refaeli said.

MK Hasson said: “Now it will be possible to implement a national vaccination policy that defines principles and goals, which systematically addresses the refusal of vaccines, and which balances between maintaining public health and freedom."

The legislation will be brought for a preliminary vote this week. It will then require three votes in the Knesset to enter into law.

Hundreds of cases of measles have been reported in Israel this year, the highest level in years, including an 18-month-old baby who died from the contagious virus in Jerusalem earlier this month.

A similar outbreak among several haredi communities in New York was attributed to individuals who contracted the disease while visiting Israel.

Earlier this month group of leading haredi rabbis called on all of their followers to vaccinate their children to put an end to the measles outbreak.

Using unusually strong language, the rabbis' missive declared that "whoever isn’t vaccinated is a murderer.”




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