A six-week-old child diagnosed with whooping cough has raised a discussion about vaccinations and admission to preschool once again.
“Parents who don’t vaccinate your children, shame on you and do some reading,” Independence Party MP Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir wrote on Facebook, Vísir reports, in the wake of her six-week-old daughter coming down with whooping cough. The disease can be fatal for children this young, but children in Iceland are vaccinated against it at three months, five months, twelve months and four years of age.
However, anywhere from 5% to 12% of Icelandic parents do not vaccinate their children, and this has raised difficult questions regarding how to push back against anti-vaccination.
Vísir reports that former Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr has taken the position that vaccinations should be a requirement for admission in school, as a public health measure. The idea is not a new one, as the Independence Party put forward a similar proposal last year – which was struck down by the City Hall majority as being “too radical”.
Public health officials have stressed the importance of education and information when it comes to increasing vaccinations. Epidemiologist Haraldar Briem said earlier this year that increased education of how vaccines work is necessary in order to push back against a very small, but very loud, group of people.
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