Germany is making measles vaccinations compulsory for all children in a new bill which will come into force in March next year.
The Measles Protection Act, which was adopted on July 17, will ensure that parents prove their children have been vaccinated before entering school or nursery.
Those who fail to provide such information before July 2021 could face fines of up to €2,500 ($2,800) and their children could be banned from attending school.
The rule will apply not only to children, but to teachers, carers, doctors, and other adults working in community or medical facilities. Such adults will need to prove they have had the necessary vaccinations to acquire immunity to measles.
In addition to this, the bill will also require asylum seekers and refugees to prove their vaccination status after moving into community accommodation.
Jens Spahn, Germany’s Health Minister, said in a statement:
Whether in kindergarten, at the childminder or at school, we want to protect all children against measles infection.
The news comes after it was revealed that 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.
Furthermore, as per Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health, there were 429 reported cases of measles by mid-June in 2019 alone. Last year, the total number of reported cases was 544.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, with symptoms including a high fever, characteristic red rash, and bloodshot eyes – among other symptoms. Routine vaccinations for children are key in reducing the number of deaths caused by measles, but with people trusting vaccinations less and less, many are failing to vaccinate their children.
This action taken by Germany will hopefully serve to prevent the spread of the disease, while protecting those vulnerable to catching it.
To fully implement the law, all doctors may carry out vaccinations in the future, excluding dentists. Specialists will also be able to carry out vaccinations independently of the limits for the practice of specialised medical practice.
In addition to this, the Public Health Service will carry out voluntary vaccinations within schools, with health insurers required to make arrangements to reimburse the cost of these vaccinations.
The new regulations will be accompanied by increased information from the Federal Centre for Health Education, with funds amounting to 2 million euros per year being provided.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).