Anti-vaxxers in Germany could face a €2,500 fine if their children don’t have the measles jab.
The Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, has drawn up a draft legislation for the new rules, which would hopefully work to ensure all children get vaccinated.
As well as fining parents who opt not to protect their children against measles, the legislation would see unvaccinated children excluded from nursery and daycare facilities in order to protect others who are too young or medically unable to receive a measles immunisation.
Parents would have to show proof of vaccination in order to avoid the penalties.
Spahn’s new initiative comes amid a debate about whether the measles vaccine should be obligatory in Germany.
According to the Independent, the health minister spoke to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper about his new legislation, saying:
I want to eradicate measles. Anyone going to a kindergarten or school should be vaccinated against measles.
Whoever does not get their child vaccinated, faces up to €2,500 in fines.
Spahn, who belongs to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party Deutschkonservative Partei, believes he has strong support for his initiative from both his own coalition and the left-leaning Social Democrats.
The health minister’s proposal is yet to be discussed by the Cabinet, so its not clear as of yet whether the legislation will be implemented.
According to ABC News, Germany had 203 reported cases of measles in the first 10 weeks of 2019, more than twice as many as in the same period last year.
Although there is a simple way to prevent the disease, there have been hundreds of reported cases in countries where it was previously considered eradicated, such as the US, because of anti-vaxxers.
This week, Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, said people who spread incorrect and misleading information about the harms of vaccines had ‘blood on their hands’.
In an interview with The Times, Hancock pointed out the vaccination rate for measles in Britain is 91 per cent, which is below the 95 per cent rate required to protect those who cannot be immunised.
The health secretary said:
The evidence is really clear that vaccination is good for you and your children and, critically, protects people who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons who otherwise will have their lives put at risk.
Those who have promoted the anti-vaccination myth are morally reprehensible, deeply irresponsible and have blood on their hands.
It is irresponsible and dangerous not to vaccinate; not only for the child in question, but for those who are unable to arm themselves against the disease.
Everyone who is able to should vaccinate their child.
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