08:57 GMT +313 December 2018
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    A health official prepares one of many vaccine injections.

    Israel Passes Preliminary Bill Sanctioning Parents With Unvaccinated Children

    © AP Photo / Achmad Ibrahim
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    The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset, passed a preliminary reading of a bill Wednesday that places sanctions on parents who do not immunize their children.

    The bill, which was proposed by Yoel Hasson and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, was passed with a majority of 115 supporters. In addition, the Knesset passed another preliminary measure, proposed by Merav Ben-Ari, stipulating that all educational institutions must deny entry to anyone not immunized if a disease outbreak ever takes place. It is unspecified, however, what the sanctions against the parents would entail. 

    "The law is especially important during this time when there is an outbreak of measles throughout the country," Ben-Ari said, the Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

    So far, there have been more than 1,000 cases of measles reported in Israel this year. According to the Israeli Health Ministry, 90 percent of all measles cases were either people who had not been vaccinated or those who came into contact with unvaccinated people. Measles, which can develop into pneumonia and cause brain swelling resulting in death, can be prevented with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.

    "Now we will be able to implement the national vaccination policy… which balances protecting public health with freedom. I am happy to initiate a long-term solution that will protect our children's health," Hasson said, praising the proposal, which is backed by the Israeli Medical Association and the Israel Pediatric Association. 

    "Children who are not vaccinated are in danger of catching diseases and can spread them to those surrounding them and be the center for outbreaks of serious diseases that can have tragic results," Moalem-Refaeli noted.

    "We must respond to parents who refuse to vaccinate from lack of knowledge or ideological reasons, and bring better public health," she added.

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