The new order will replace mandatory vaccines for children aged five to 17 during outbreaks, but a few exemptions are expected
A decree in Austria will require all children who are born before 2017 to be vaccinated against HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that spreads through genital skin contact.
Austria also launched a database to keep a detailed record of children’s vaccination histories.
The change in the country’s vaccine laws is the first nationwide vaccination mandate across Europe since 2009, when the World Health Organisation named HPV as a virus with increasing global health risks and recommended that women and men who have sex should be given a vaccine against it.
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In Austria, other vaccines are required during outbreaks that may prove dangerous to others, such as preventative shots against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
The new vaccine orders will replace mandatory vaccines for children aged five to 17 during outbreaks, but few exemptions are expected, according to Austria’s preventive medicine minister, Patrick Kröner.
For example, a 28-year-old resident in Vienna has a personal view that some women should be exempted from vaccination for non-medical reasons such as moral ones, Kröner said.
The Austrian vaccine law is similar to one adopted in 2014 by Germany, which had some exceptions for a number of religious and personal exemptions.
The roll-out of a compulsory HPV vaccine came amid a dramatic increase in cervical cancer diagnoses in Europe. Germany has said cases increased threefold to 77,000 between 1993 and 2013, as the number of girls starting to have sex doubled over the same period.
Hepatitis C outbreaks in Austria, Germany and Spain have also fuelled alarm, as swarms of drug-resistant and silent viruses have infected an unprecedented number of people.