More parents refuse to immunise their children in Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
More than 30,000 Polish parents and carers refused to vaccinate their children last year, up from 23,000 in 2016 and 3,400 in 2010, according to data from the National Institute of Public Health.
Photo: Sanofi Pasteur (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
But millions of children receive their shots each year and the vast majority of people are immunised.
Experts warn that non-immunisation could see outbreaks of dangerous illnesses which have largely been wiped out, and countries where proportionately more children are not vaccinated have seen higher incidences of now-rare diseases such as measles and whooping cough.
According to the World Health Organisation, 133 people contracted measles in Poland in 2016, while in 2010 there were only 13 cases of the disease.
Under Polish laws, parents who do not follow their child’s immunisation schedule are issued a warning and then fined up to PLN 10,000 (EUR 2,300) for each missed vaccination, and up to PLN 50,000 overall.
But fines are usually far smaller.
Compulsory immunisations, which protect against hepatitis B, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella, among others, are free in Poland.
According to Poland’s IAR news agency, parents avoid immunising their children for fear of adverse reactions to vaccinations, which occur on average in one of every 10,000 cases.
Experts say that severe adverse reactions to vaccinations that could require hospitalisation are far rarer than the diseases the shots help protect against. (vb/pk)