Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (9):669-674 (2008)

Increasing geographical mobility and international travel augment the ease and speed by which infectious diseases can spread across large distances. It is therefore incumbent upon each state to ensure that immunisation programmes are effective and that herd immunity is achieved. Across Europe, a range of immunisation policies exist: compulsion, the offer of financial incentives to parents or healthcare professionals, social and professional pressure, or simply the dissemination of clear information and advice. Until recently, immunisation against particular communicable diseases was compulsory in Italy. The Italian National Vaccination Plan paved the way for regions to suspend the sanctions associated with compulsory vaccinations for children when certain criteria are met—for example when immunisation coverage is high and when effective monitoring/surveillance systems are in place—and thus marked a milestone in the move from compulsory to voluntary immunisation. The forthcoming NVP for 2008–10 confirms the liberal approach to vaccination in Italy as it entrusts to the regions responsibility for the achievement and maintenance of herd immunity. This paper reviews the arguments for and against compulsory and voluntary immunisation in relation to the Italian NVP and in the context of the diverse immunisation policies that exist across Europe. It concludes with cautious support for the NVP and an associated shift from compulsory to voluntary immunisation in Italy, and draws similarities between issues concerning regional variation in immunisation policy in Italy and national variation in immunisation policy across Europe and beyond
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/jme.2007.022343
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,199
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Should Childhood Immunisation Be Compulsory?P. Bradley - 1999 - Journal of Medical Ethics 25 (4):330-334.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

CQ Sources/Bibliography.Bette Anton - 1999 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 8 (4):348-350.
CQ Sources/Bibliography.Bette Anton - 2010 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 19 (2):230-231.
CQ Sources/Bibliography.Bette Anton - 2010 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 19 (3):402-406.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Should Smallpox Vaccine Be Made Available to the General Public?Thomas May & Ross D. Silverman - 2003 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 13 (2):67-82.
Ethics and Public Health Emergencies: Rationing Vaccines.Matthew K. Wynia - 2006 - American Journal of Bioethics 6 (6):4 – 7.
Public Health: Bush's Smallpox Vaccination Plan.Jennifer Gray - 2003 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 31 (2):312-314.
Rationing and the Clinton Health Plan.Richard D. Lamm - 1994 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 19 (5):445-454.
Oregon Health Plan: Ration or Reason.Paige R. Sipes-Metzler - 1994 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 19 (4):305-314.


Added to PP index

Total views
28 ( #410,478 of 2,517,919 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #409,045 of 2,517,919 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes