An Italian politician who voted against an anti-vaccine bill has spent time in hospital after catching the Chicken Pox.
Massimiliano Fedriga, who is the governor of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region and a member of the right-wing Northern League party, has had to spend four days under observation at the Udine hospital.
The 38-year-old politician argued against the Lorenzin decree, a law which would have made vaccination mandatory for children before they begin school.
Fedriga has expressed vocal opposition to the introduction of mandatory childhood vaccinations against 12 diseases. This included chickenpox. Despite this, Fedriga has said he is not an anti-vaxxer himself, having made sure to vaccinate his own children.
After being discharged from hospital, Fedriga wrote the following message on social media:
I’m fine, I’m at home in convalescence and I thank everyone,
Fedriga has received some ridicule on social media after the nature of his illness became public, with some people suggesting he has experienced a taste of his ‘own medicine’.
Virologist Roberto Burioni – who supports mandatory vaccination – posted the following tweet:
Dear President, first of all let me wish you a speedy recovery. I’m glad you vaccinated your children; unfortunately, chickenpox is not only very contagious (and dangerous), but …
Hitting back at the criticism, Fedriga has made the following comments on Facebook>:
I’m reading a series of celebratory comments on Twitter because I’ve been hospitalised,
I have always said that I am in favour of vaccines and to achieve the result is necessary to form an alliance with families, not impose [it on them].
[The critics] even said I would get chicken pox from my children, not realising that my children are vaccinated (as I have stated in many interviews).
Carissimo Presidente, prima di tutto mi permetta di augurarle una prontissima guarigione. Sono contento che lei abbia vaccinato i suoi figli; purtroppo la varicella non solo è molto contagiosa (e pericolosa), ma… https://t.co/37bAAOpr8N
— Roberto Burioni (@RobertoBurioni) March 15, 2019
As reported by Italian publication La Van Guardia, Fedriga had been present in the Italian Chamber while the Lorenzin decree was debated.
Fedriga reportedly expressed his belief more than once about how mandatory vaccination is not the best method to convince anti-vaxx parents to vaccinate their children.
He argued how parents should not be ‘coerced’ into vaccinating their kids and – according to The Independent – described the Democratic Party as ‘Stalinist’ for wishing to implement the policy.
The Lorenzin decree was introduced in Italy following a measles outbreak in 2017, with fines awarded to parents who fail to vaccinate their school age children.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.