Published December 14, 2016
Requiring parents to vaccinate their children is entirely unnecessary in Iceland, an epidemiologist says, because almost everyone vaccinates their children anyway. In fact, he contends, requiring vaccinations could cause problems rather than solve them.
As reported public discussion has arisen again over whether or not to make vaccinations a prerequisite for enrollment in preschool, spurred by a recent Facebook post from Independence Party MP Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, whose six-week-old child was recently diagnosed with whooping cough – one of many diseases Icelanders are vaccinate against, starting at six months of age.
Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason told RÚV that any kind of vaccination requirement is unnecessary. He points out that recent polls have shown that between 96% and 98% of parents vaccinate their children. These numbers are up significantly from what they were nearly two years ago.
Requiring parents to vaccinate their children in order to admit them to preschool is therefore, he contends, not needed. In fact, it could create more problems. He points out that in some very rare cases, some children cannot receive vaccines for health reasons, while at the same time emphasising that the chances of vaccines causing any kind of harm are incredibly low; something on the order of 1 in 500,000.
As such, Þórólfur believes that enough Icelanders possess the knowledge and will to vaccinate their children without being required to do so.