An Italian politician who is against the country's mandatory vaccination laws has been hospitalised after contracting chickenpox.
Massimiliano Fedriga, a member of Italy's far-right League party, used Twitter to reveal he was ill, having spent the last four days in hospital with chickenpox.
"I'm fine, I'm at home in convalescence, and I thank everyone," he said.
But his revelation has since been mocked by social media users calling it "karma" for catching the highly contagious infection - which can be deadly in adults - after his public opposal to compulsory vaccinations against 12 diseases, including chickenpox.
Fedriga, who is the president of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, admitted to vaccinating his children but at the time said it shouldn't be forced upon people, La Vanguardia reported.
And in response to the online backlash, Fedriga hit back, saying: "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 chickenpox from my children, not realising that my children are vaccinated (as I have stated in many interviews)."
Prominent microbiologist Roberto Burioni wrote on his Twitter that he wished the president a speedy recovery, adding he's glad he vaccinated his kids, while also explaining how the news of him being hospitalised helpfully brought up the topic of vaccinations in adults.
"(Fedriga), like many adults, did not get vaccinated … if he had been vaccinated as an adult he would be in perfect health," Burioni wrote on his website, MedicalFacts.
He explained had Fedriga infected a pregnant woman the result could end in an unwanted termination.
"The only way we have to avoid such tragedies is to vaccinate us all to prevent the circulation of this dangerous virus, which could have hit a much more vulnerable person," Burioni said.
Burioni went on to advise adults they needed to be vaccinated.
"Not to protect others but because — I guarantee you — chickenpox is a very contagious disease, and taking it as an adult is really something very, very, very unpleasant," he said.
Many have shared Burioni's views, adding Fedriga is "ignorant".
"There's nothing you can do about it. He says we have to persuade and not oblige the parents. He's ignorant," one person said on Twitter.
The Lorenzin decree was introduced by the Italian government after an outbreak of measles in 2017. It prevents unvaccinated children from attending nursery or preschool and imposes heavy fines on parents who fail to immunise school-age children.
It allows for parents of non-vaccinated schoolchildren to be fined between 100 euros ($165NZD) and 500 euros ($1330NZD).
READ MORE: Italy bans unvaccinated kids from school with anti-vax parents risking fines
In one interview, Fedriga described the Democratic Party, the largest member of the then-ruling coalition government, as "Stalinist" for attempting to "impose" the policy on the public.
According to data from the World Health Organisation, Italy has not met its 95 per cent recommended vaccination rate, with 165 cases of the measles cases being reported in January.
Currently in Australia, unvaccinated children are banned from enrolling in preschool in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland under the "no jab, no play" laws.
Health authorities have also publicly warned anti-vaxxers about the dangers of not protecting against disease.