It seems that recent measles outbreak was not enough.
Vaccinations against infectious diseases should be introduced as a recommendation and not as an obligation, and people should be allowed to choose for themselves – this is the essence of amendments to the Law on Protection of Population against Infectious Diseases which have been proposed by members of Parliament from Živi Zid, reports Večernji List on March 6, 2017.
The amendments have not yet been included in the parliamentary agenda. If they are adopted, which fortunately does not seem likely, all people who would accept to be vaccinated would have the right to undergo preliminary testing for hypersensitivity to certain vaccine components. According to the proposal, acceptance or rejection of vaccination should be done in written form, after a discussion with a physician who should inform the patient about benefits and risks of immunization, as well as about the disease being vaccinated against.
The MPs also want to abolish compulsory vaccination for people who are exposed to the risk of infectious diseases in their regular jobs. Also, the proposed amendments would eliminate misdemeanour charges for people refusing to be vaccinated, including the current fine of 2,000 kuna.
The written explanation of the amendments claims that the current law is contrary to the Law on the Protection of Patients’ Rights, as well as a series of Croatian and international regulations.
Živi Zid is the fourth largest political party in Croatian Parliament, and its popularity has been increasing in recent months. Their MPs are known for their tendency to believe and spread various conspiracy theories. Party president Ivan Vilibor Sinčić run for president in 2014 and won over 16 percent of votes in the first round of voting.
Due to ever lover levels of vaccination, measles have returned to Croatia in recent months. Physicians are repeatedly calling on parents to vaccinate their children and warn that expanding the circle of unvaccinated people is endangering small children and those who cannot receive the vaccine because of impaired immunity.
In Croatia, the first dose of the vaccine is received by 94 percent of the population, while the second dose, which is given at the start of primary school, is received by 97 percent. The vaccination rate in Zagreb is around 95 percent, while the lowest rate is reported in Split-Dalmatia County. In recent years, it stood at 85 percent, and last year it further dropped to 81 percent. “The coverage rate of vaccination against measles has been in a continuous slight decline in the last five years. I cannot tell whether the anti-vaccination movement in Croatia is getting stronger or weaker, but my impression is that there is its growing presence on the internet”, said an epidemiologist from the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
Many stories are spreading on the internet and they convince some parents not to vaccinate their children. There are unsubstantiated claims that vaccines can cause autism, which strengthens the anti-vaccination movement. Conspiracy theorists accuse physicians and pharmacists of being a part of a supposed conspiracy. On the other hand, physicians have had enough and there is a growing number of them who decide against admitting children who have not been vaccinated, which means that their parents have to find another physician.