Written by Fanny Zhao, CNN Athens, Greece
Greek officials are expected to unveil strict new rules next week intended to reduce the country’s rising incidence of the measles outbreak, the outbreak’s deadliest yet.
The new rules will impose strict penalties on anyone who refuses to get vaccinated and limit the frequency of their boosters, Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Saturday.
The measures come after a 72-day period ending on October 31 in which parents and guardians are required to bring their children in for vaccination.
Teachers in schools with more than 60% unvaccinated children must complete special training on the subject and annually renew their teaching qualifications, Tsipras said.
Scores of new cases have been reported in Greece
In recent weeks, a spate of new cases has been reported across the country. In some of the worst affected areas, tens of children have been confirmed as having measles.
In a July study, Ithaca University scientist Mark Webster said that Greece is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the measles virus, in part because it is so densely populated.
“On average, the ratio of unvaccinated to vaccinated children in a population is 20:1,” he wrote in an article for The Conversation. “This is the highest ratio of unvaccinated children to vaccinated children on Earth.”