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France Makes Vaccines Mandatory For All Children

On the heels of a rapidly-spreading Measles outbreak, France will now make vaccines mandatory for 11 diseases starting in 2018.

Child Gets Needle Shot from Doctor didesign021/Shutterstock
To vaccinate children or not has been a hotly debated question for years. While numerous studies have shown that vaccines are safe and effective, anti-vaxxers blame them for a wide range of health problems and view whether or not to give them to their kids as a personal choice. But now, at least if you live in France, your children will have to be vaccinated beginning in 2018.

Three vaccines—diphtheria, tetanus, and poliomyelitis—are already mandatory in France. Now 11 more—polio, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae bacteria, pneumococcus, and meningococcus C—will be added to that list.

The announcement comes in response to measles outbreaks across Europe, which the World Health Organization (WHO) blames on drops in immunization coverage. According to WHO, approximately 134,200 people died from measles in 2015—mostly kids under the age of 5—despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.

"Children are still dying of measles," explained France's new prime minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday, according to Newsweek. "In the homeland of [Louis] Pasteur that is not admissible. Diseases that we believed to be eradicated are developing once again."

France is not the first country to adopt such a policy. The news follows a directive from Italy's government last May that all children must be vaccinated for 12 diseases in order to enroll in public school. And while the U.S. does not currently have a federal mandate on vaccinations, most states have established vaccination requirements for school-aged children.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.