All parliamentary groups back obligatory vaccination bill
Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar told MPs on Thursday that new legislation to make vaccination obligatory is a matter of the children's and the nation's health.Source: Beta, Tanjug
"What we are doing today is the result of the unanimous support of the Committee and all deputies who sit here. I thank you for that and for your understanding that this is a matter than has nothing to do with politics, this is about the health of the children and of the nation," he said.
Loncar remarked that over 96 percent of children in EU countries are vaccinated, while in Serbia this number is 89 percent, "even lower for some vaccines."
According to the minister, "developed countries have mechanisms that ensure vaccination, including preventing unvaccinated children from enrolling in kindergartens and schools" and not extending health insurance to cover related diseases.
He noted that the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Family held three meetings on the subject, but that anti-vaccination activists each time failed to attend, although they had been invited.
The proposed draft changes to the existing legislation introduce obligatory vaccination that does not require the consent of the patient or their legal guardian.
The draft has been supported by 234 out of the assembly's 250 deputies, and by all parliamentary groups, who agreed it was necessary to prevent parents from refusing to have their children vaccinated.
MP Mileta Poskurica (SNS), who officially proposed the bill, said that those parents use information found on the internet to "create problems for pediatricians when they ask for detailed information about vaccinations," and that the refusal to have children receive the MMR vaccine in particular has reached "a worrying level."
He added that those parents are doing a disservice to their children, describing the information circulated on social networks that links vaccines with potential illnesses as being "without any rational proof and basis."
"There must be some authority that will allow doctors to do their job and prevent parent's arbitrariness based on something they read on social networks," Poskurica said while presenting the draft law.