Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

Measles vaccination becomes compulsory in German schools

Parents with unvaccinated children could be fined €2,500

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines sit in a cooler (AP)
Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines sit in a cooler (AP)

Children in Germany must be vaccinated against the measles or their parents will be fined, following parliamentary approval on Thursday of a bill introduced by the federal cabinet.

Health minister Jens Spahn described it as “a child protection law in the truest sense of the word”.

Asylum seekers and refugees must have the vaccination four weeks after admission to a shared accommodation. The law also applies to childminders, schools and medical centres.

Mr Spahn, of the Christian Democratic Union party, told Germany’s lower house that his goal was to prevent anyone in the country from suffering from measles.

Those who violate the law will be fined up to €2,500 (Dh10,098) and children not vaccinated can be banned from kindergartens as of March 2020.

“Measles is underestimated far too often. It is highly contagious and can even have fatal consequences. This infectious disease especially endangers those who cannot protect themselves: our children" said Mr Spahn.

“That is why we promote measles protection in kindergarten, school and child day care. This helps us fight other infectious diseases - such as tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. Parents need to know: vaccinating protects their children's health,” he added.

Germany’s health ministry said there were 501 measles cases registered in 2019 by mid-October and 544 for all of 2018. It says measles is one of the most contagious diseases and more than a “harmless childhood disease”.

“Not being vaccinated means not only a significant risk to the physical well-being of the person concerned, but also a risk for other people who, for example, cannot be vaccinated because of their age or special health restrictions,” the ministry said.

The illness has returned in some parts of the world with health professionals blaming the anti-vaxx movement, who claim vaccinations can cause a host of medical problems.

“Measles is a highly contagious virus, spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. When one person has measles, 90 percent of the people they come into close contact with will become infected, if they are not already immune” says the Measles & Rubella Initiative.

Updated: November 14, 2019 09:02 PM

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