Health minister not in favour of compulsory vaccinations

Image of Salma al-Shehab. Credit: [email protected]

SPANISH Minister of Health Alfonso Alonso has declared he is not inclined to introduce compulsory vaccination programmes for children following the first case of diphtheria registered in the country in almost 30 years.
Speaking before the Madrid launch of the 13th Mashumano Foundation Conference, the minister stressed that the Spanish system is based on parents’ commitment and sense of social responsibility.
The system, Alonso said, has guaranteed a high level of protection as almost 97 per cent of children are vaccinated, more than in some countries where vaccinations are compulsory.
“If something works it doesn’t need changing to a system like some in Eastern Europe which do not follow the principles of the Spanish health system such as patients’ right to choose,” the minister explained.
The case of Olot, the boy diagnosed with diphtheria whose parents chose not to vaccinate him, proves a point, Alonso said: “Vaccinations save lives. It’s important that everyone realises this.”
Also questioned on the possibility of compulsory vaccinations, Spanish Paediatricians’ Association president Serafin Malaga said it was more important to dispel myths put out by anti-vaccination groups.
“We have to inform parents, but it is their right to decide. What we need to do is work ever harder to ensure that parents are given all the correct facts.”

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