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Political controversies over mandatory vaccination. Health minister: Romania is in the middle of measles epidemic and on the verge of catastrophe

Amid measles epidemic in Romania, authorities haven’t yet solved the vaccine crisis, with ruling party’s leaders arguing against one another on the vaccination. After Social Democrat chairman Liviu Dragnea said that he is reserved about compelling parents by law to vaccinate their children, Health Minister Florian Bodog stated that mandatory vaccination is the only solution, in his view.

Everyone can have doubts, but I think mandatory vaccination is the only option. We are not hurrying up with passing the law, it must follow a normal path, it should be debated,” said the Health minister.

The current form of the vaccination draft law doesn’t stipulate sanctions for the parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, but only reference to mistreatment of the minor. Yet, the minister says that if a child dies because of the parent’s decision to not vaccinate him/her, the parent can be charged with mistreatment.

As for the anti-measles vaccine, currently failing from the Romanian market, the minister explained that the acquisition procedure has been sealed, but suppliers are hard to find. “Romania is in the middle of measles epidemic and on the verge of catastrophe. Firm measures are needed,” minister Bodog said, reminding of the death toll that climbed to 23. Moreover, another 238 were infected with measles this week, whith the number of patients diagnosed with this diseases since autumn last year exceeding 5,000.

He added that the ministry had resorted even to the World Health Organization on this issue. “We have got promises that they would help us to find suppliers for the vaccines that we need”. The anti-measles vaccine is currently failing in ten counties.

Contrary to the Health minister’s position, PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea stated on Thursday that he has serious doubts regarding the compulsory vaccination.

I have doubts about compelling, that vaccination should be mandatory,” Dragnea said when asked if he endorses the mandatory vaccination for children.

According to the expert on the infectious diseases, Adrian Streinu Cercel, anytime a vaccination campaign gets below 80 per cent, there is risk for an outbreak, while if the rate is below 60 per cent, the epidemic is practically set off.

About Alina Grigoras