Mandatory vaccinations for access to school: Is this the best way to tackle hesitancy?

Milan, 6th February 2017

Mandatory vaccinations for access to school: Is this the best way to tackle hesitancy?

Since immunization rates are decreasing in a worrying trend in Italy, some local and national authorities have suggested to prevent unvaccinated children from entering childcare centres or nursery schools. The proposal ignited a public debate whether this simple and quick measure can be effective: some think that we are facing an emergency that requires an adequate reaction; others fear that this strict position could be of little use, even possibly creating a backfire effect. 

A new feature on ASSET website provides some clues for other kinds of practical interventions, aimed both at improving dialogue with reluctant families and at targeting health professionals who do not support, when not openly discourage, vaccination. A previous analysis by ASSET project, in fact, could not provide any evidence of a relationship between mandatory vaccination and rates of childhood immunization in the EU/EEA countries for polio, pertussis and measles, suggesting that this measure is not able by itself to guarantee a good coverage against preventable infectious diseases.

In the following maps, one for each vaccine, countries where a vaccination is mandatory has been marked with a lined background, while those where the same vaccination is recommended have a spotted background. Countries coloured in green have had an average higher vaccine coverage than the EU/EEA average (2007-2013), while the coverage is lower than the average in the blue ones.

No evident correlation between colours and different backgrounds appears from the maps.

“Low coverage in vaccinations is a complex issue, with various causes in different countries and in different population groups,” says Donato Greco, former General Director of Health Prevention at Italian Ministry of Health, WHO consultant and now working for ASSSET project. “It needs to be faced with a multifaceted strategy”.


For any further information please visit our website ( or contact ASSET Press Office

                           Roberta Villa
                          +39 3398182219


MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Engaging all of Europe in shaping a desirable and sustainable future
Expect the unexpected and know how to respond
Driving innovation in crisis management for European resilience
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Solutions to improve CBRNe resilience
Network for Communicable Disease Control in Southern Europe and Mediterranean Countries
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
Strengthening of the national surveillance system for communicable diseases
Surveillance of vaccine preventable hepatitis
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
European network for highly infectious disease
Dedicated surveillance network for surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases in the EU
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Addressing chronic diseases and healthy ageing across the life cycle
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Get involved in the responsible marine research and innovation
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Promote vaccinations among migrant population in Europe
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improve the quality of indoor air, keeping it free from radon
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Investigating how cities in the West securitise against global pandemics
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence