Europeans are turning away from vaccines, amid rising distrust of immunisation for infectious diseases. France’s Constitutional Council has upheld legislation obliging parents to have their children innoculated. EurActiv France reports.
Given the choice, not everybody would vaccinate their children. Marc and Samia Larère asked the French Constitutional Council for a “priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality” (QPC) on whether they could legally be forced to vaccinate their children.
The response came on 20 March: compulsory vaccination is legal under the French constitution. Like many parents, the Larères feel that the obligatory DTP vaccine (against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) poses too high a risk and protects against illnesses that are virtually non-existent in France.
The only DTP vaccine to not contain aluminium was withdrawn from the market in June 2008, and the others have been out of stock for months. The only remaining option is the hexavalent vaccine that also immunises against hepatitis B, although this is not on the obligatory vaccination list, and the vaccine has suspected links to multiple sclerosis.
Michèle Rivasi, a Green MEP, called this “a forced sale”. “Vaccination is not benign. I am not against vaccination but I believe in moderation,” she said at a press conference on 24 March. Together with pharmacist Serge Rader, she has launched an operation to blow the whistle on conflicts of interest and corruption in the public health sector.