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(Massimiliano Fedriga/Facebook)

A Politician Who Opposes Mandatory Chickenpox Vaccinations Just Got Chickenpox

CARLY CASSELLA
21 MAR 2019

An Italian politician who vehemently opposes compulsory vaccinations is currently dealing with a dose of his own medicine, or lack thereof.

In the very same week that Italy began enforcing its new school vaccination rules, one of the policy's most vocal critics was diagnosed and hospitalised with chickenpox.

 

The timing couldn't have been worse for Massimiliano Fedriga, a senior leader in Italy's right-wing Northern League party. After months of fierce debate, the country had just implemented the so-called Lorenzin law, which requires all school children to be immunised against a dozen preventable diseases, one of which is chickenpox.

Without these vaccinations, children in Italy are now prevented from attending nursery or pre-school, and heavy fines will be placed on those parents who fail to immunise their school-age children.

Fedriga has been a vocal opponent of this health policy. He has even described it as "Stalinist", arguing that while he personally vaccinates his own children, other parents shouldn't be "coerced" into doing the same.

Now, he has found himself recovering from an entirely preventable disease, spending a total of four days in hospital.

Activists and medical experts have been quick to point out the irony. A prominent Italian microbiologist, Roberto Burioni, even took to Facebook to make his expertise on the subject clear.

After wishing Fedriga a speedy recovery and thanking him for vaccinating his children, Burioni issued a stern warning.

 

"[Fedriga], like many adults, did not get vaccinated... if he had been vaccinated as an adult he would be in perfect health," Burioni wrote.

He also added that the only way to avoid such tragedies is for all of us, young and old, to be vaccinated. Because next time, it might not be Fedriga who pays the price, but someone far more vulnerable.

"If he had infected a pregnant woman we would be facing a malformed child or an abortion," Burioni warned.

Nevertheless, even after contracting a vaccine-preventable disease, Fedriga is sticking to his guns, remaining just as convinced that this policy won't work.

One can only hope that maybe he will change his mind after seeing the good that a high level of vaccination can bring to a community.