Reykjavík City Councillor Hildur Björnsdóttir wants vaccinations to be a prerequisite for preschool admission, RÚV reports. Hildur says parents who choose to not vaccinate their kids compromise their health and safety. She intends to submit a proposal to the city council on the issue.
The Independence Party representative says the city needs to combat the reduction in the number of vaccinated children, and believes it is only a matter of time before measles epidemics in other European countries spread to Iceland. “There are exceptions like children who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons based on medical advice and of course the proposal would not apply to them,” she stated. “But the proposal would also most of all protect these children, who may not be vaccinated and are therefore at high risk of contracting many contagious diseases.”
Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason has criticised Hildur’s proposal, calling it unnecessary. A recent report from the Directorate of Health indicates 91% participation in last year’s measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations, which are administered at 18 months of age. The desired rate is 95%. “In many areas, we certainly want better participation rates in vaccinations. The reason why participation is not high enough is however in our opinion not that many parents are opposed to vaccinations,” Þórólfur stated. “There are certain systemic problems related to registeration and recall systems for certain age groups.”
Halldór Auðar Svansson, former city councillor for the Pirate Party is opposed to the proposal, saying it places the welfare of some children above that of others. “Using admission to preschool for this purpose is outrageous, at best a band-aid that does not address the root of the problem. It is completely inconsistent with child welfare methodologies, which places repressive measures last on the list of priorities.”