About 3% of parents in Latvia forgo all vaccines for their children

About 3% of children fully forgo immunization for their children, according to data by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

After two children died due to not receiving vaccines and shots, the Rīga's Children's Clinical University Hospital has issued a call for parents not to eschew vaccinating their children.

Now an initiative has been published on the Manabalss.lv website, which acts as a platform to attract MPs' attention to topical issues, asking to revoke benefits and state-sponsored spots at kindergartens for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

"We want there to be no more cases within a year, two years or five. We want more children to be vaccinated. This initiative revoking access to state-sponsored services in the case of non-immunization could provide the needed motivation," said Māris Antons, the author of the initiative.

The Health Ministry meanwhile thinks that such punishment will not increase the number of vaccinated children. Furthermore, people have the right to refuse medical services, said ministry rep Oskars Šneiders.

He said that what's most important is educating medics who talk to parents about disease prophylaxis and that seminars about the matter are slated for next year.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates a total 2.9% of parents refuse all vaccines for their children, while a further 13% don't follow the immunization calendar -- a practice that also carries risk, according to medical experts.

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