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Why this 7-year-old can not get close to unvaccinated children

Angela was just 3 years old when she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder that meant her body could not produce enough red blood cells. She needed a bone marrow transplant.

Like thousands of other transplant recipients in Italy, Angela has little or no immunity. Running your daily life can be a game of chance.

Public places such as trains, planes, shopping malls and cinemas are out of reach of the 7-year-old.

Northeast Italy is a stronghold of the anti-vaccine movement since a judge in Rimini in 2012 ruled that the combined vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, known as MMR, caused autism.
The allegations that there is an association between MMR and autism, which the embarrassed former physician Andrew Wakefield first hinted at in a study that was withdrawn in 1
998, were largely denied.
The Judge's judgment in Rimini was abolished three years later, however, by the time it had promoted the spread of vaccine theories in Italy and around the world.

Safe but secluded

For Angela, the risk in her region was so great that she spent two years in virtual seclusion, unable to attend school, and only one vaccinated playmate and her to see former kindergarten teacher.

Even her older brother Pietro, now 18, had to be sent away every time he had the slightest cold to stay with his grandparents.

  Due to the weakened immune system, her brother Pietro had to be sent away when he was ill if he infected her.

Two years ago, Angela's life began to change after the previous Italian government imposed vaccinations for the exclusion of unimmunized children from school. Since then, the incidence of measles has halved and the vaccination coverage of the entire population has improved to 92%.

The 95% needed to ensure "herd immunity" to protect people with compromised immune systems, such as Angela.

But now that populist parties have power in the league and the five-star movement – both of which have voted in favor of vaccines – the short freedom that Angela has gained is back in jeopardy.

  When she came to celebrate her birthdays, Angela's friends had to wear masks to ensure her safety. CNN has blurred the faces of other kids in the photo to protect their privacy.

"Angela suffered greatly from being isolated from her friends for so long," says Pomaro, 53.

"She became involved in their development and education Delay and so we were advised as a family to take some risks to their advantage, "he says. "It would be a great shame to go back and clear the little winnings that were scored."

  Science is unmasked: & # 39; Why do some countries make a turnaround in the vaccine?

Just one year after its introduction, Italy's mandatory vaccination program has already been watered down so that parents of children who are of the same age as Angela allow it to pay a fine or self-certify that their offspring have been vaccinated, even if this is not the case.

Matteo Salvini, Italy's deputy prime minister and party leader, has hinted that he could reverse the policy altogether to prioritize school attendance instead.

To forestall such a move, Pomaro and his wife Federica wrote an Angela in a school that mainly serves the children of migrants. The population is severely vilified by Salvini, but statistically they take more shots.

High-Income, Low Trust

Although thanks to years of malfunctioning it is prone to rhetoric against the establishment's government, Italy is not alone when it comes to having a growing number of its citizens make crucial initiatives in the field of public health.

A survey by UK medical charity Wellcome Trust revealed that residents of high-income countries have the least confidence in vaccine safety. 20% of Europeans said they were not sure about their risks compared to their benefits.
  Rich countries have less confidence in vaccines, survey results

One of them is Loris Mazzorato, 55. As Pomaro is he, too, father of little children – his daughter Anita, 8, is only a year older than Angela. The families live half an hour's drive away, but as far as vaccines are concerned, they are worlds apart.

Mazzorato, a former congressional mayor of the city of Resana, once pleaded in his public office for parents not to immunize their children in registering their births, and sent back their testimonies along with 25 pages of anti-vaccine propaganda.

 ] Loris Mazoratto, the former mayor of the Italian city of Resana, says he would rather teach his two daughters at home than vaccinate them.

With little more than a high school diploma – and no scientific background – Mazzorato has emerged as one of the loudest proponents of an anti-vaccination movement, which now estimates an estimated 1% of the Italian population includes.

He travels the country holding speeches with placards on the stroller. He even draped banners announcing his anti-vaccine message from the balcony of his home.

"It's like being in a war"

Mazzorato is also about protecting his children's bodies from the harmful substances he believes are in the vaccines, because they fight for his parenting rights against what he sees as an interventionist government.

"It's like a war, either you shoot first or you're shot." he says. Every parent should have the right to decide what is right for their child and what is wrong.

  WHO warns against the spread of measles in Europe, as 34,000 cases were reported in 2 months

In addition, he adds, makes you sick stronger, and we live in a developed country where these risks no longer exist. "

Measles can be a dangerous disease that leads to serious complications and hospitalization. One to three out of 1,000 people with measles die, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When his second daughter Illaria (2) prepares to attend nursery school in the fall without vaccination, he says he will teach her at home if she is excluded.

Asked about the risk of his family's choices for those in Angela's situation, Ma zzorato, who does not believe in herd immunity, is not excused and asks why he should inject his children with something he considers "potentially harmful "looks.

Despite all the heartfelt beliefs of Mazzorato, the numbers tell a different story: Italy has seen nearly 900 measles cases so far this year. According to the World Health Organization, there were more than 2,600 in 2018.

WHO has identified vaccine resistance in 2019 as one of the greatest risks to global public health.

Death threats

[19659002] For another father at the forefront of the fight who speaks out against the threat of deadly disease, death threatens – for him and his daughter Caterina, 8.

As a professor for Microbiology at Milan 56-year-old Roberto Burioni from Vita-Salute San Raffaele University said he was also "mobilized" when Caterina reached school age.

"I realized how much misinformation there was out there and felt that as a father, as a doctor, I really had to do something about it," he says.

  Professor Roberto Burioni says he has received online death threats Professor Roberto Burioni says he has received death threats for his vaccination campaign, but believes that his duty is to act against misinformation.

Burioni says the decision of populist politicians to ignite the flames of vaccine protection is "really unfortunate."

"Health, treatments or prevention should not be something left over or right," he says. "If you can find a cure for a disease, it's for everyone, and I think it's very bad for someone to take political positions on these issues that put the security of the entire community at stake."

Burioni wrote a book called "Deadly Lies", and has been heavily involved in compulsory vaccinations, amassing nearly half a million followers on Facebook. But his work has also attracted negative attention; On Twitter he was sent pictures of weapons and bullets with the name of his wife and daughter.

"It was really uncomfortable," he says. "I'm just trying to tell the scientists that two plus two are equal to four.

" We have a really dramatic situation in Italy. How many cases should there be in such a country? Zero, because people should be vaccinated, it is so easy.

Freedom from Diseases

Angela's father has at least now managed to restore this perfect world to his daughter, who is disease-free.

After months of searching, he found a dance teacher, who is willing to set up a special class for her made up of other children who have all been vaccinated.

  Angela loves to dance and now attends special ballet classes where all join in. Children must prove they have been vaccinated

Well, is Pomaro's message for parents who have doubts about the safety of vaccines?

"Think of children like Angela," he says. "They've gone through so much and survived just to return for superstition To suffer.

] "I wish I could vaccinate her … but I can not."

Livvy Doherty of CNN contributed to this report.

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