German Parents Face a Hefty Fine if They Don't Vaccinate Their Kids

Germany passed a law that requires parents to vaccinate their children against measles or face a more than $2,500 fine.
Donna Fuscaldo

Germany is requiring parents to vaccinate their children against measles or face a fine of as much as $2,750. 

The Measles Protection Act was passed 14 November by the Bundestag, requiring all children entering school or kindergarten to have the measles vaccine. Parents will need to provide proof of measles vaccination in order for children to attend school. The mandatory vaccination also applies to all teachers, educators, daycare workers and medical staff born after 1970. 


Parents face a more than $2,500 fine 

Parents who do not vaccinate their children will be fined €2,500 or $2,750. The fine will also be imposed on daycare centers that allow unvaccinated children to attend classes. Non-vaccinated children can be excluded from attending kindergarten and non-vaccinated adults can be prohibited from working in community and health facilities. 

"Measles are underestimated far too often. They are highly contagious and can even have fatal consequences. This infectious disease especially endangers those who can not protect themselves: our children," said Jens Spahn, Federal Health Minister in announcing the passage of the act. "That is why we promote measles protection in kindergarten, school and child daycare. And we are enabling the Public Health Service to again offer more row vaccinations in schools. This helps us fight other infectious diseases - such as tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. Parents need to know: vaccinating protects their children's health."

Measles cases on the rise 

Globally there has been a resurgence in the number of cases of measles, which is easily spread through the air from coughs and sneezes. Measles causes fever and a rash that starts on a person's face then spreads over the entire body. Its more contagious than Ebola and can last in the air and on surfaces for extended periods of time.

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According to UNICEF you can catch measles simply by being in the same room as an infected person, even if its two hours after the individual left. UNICEF said the number of reported cases of measles increased 300% in the first three months of  2019 to 110,000

Germany said so far this year there were 501 cases of measles reported with a total of 544 cases registered in 2018. While the Ministry of Health said 97.1% of first-graders received the first measles vaccine, there is regional differences in who receives the second measles vaccine. As a result at the federal level a quota of 95% has not been achieved.  It said about 93% of first-year students in 2017 had received both vaccinations against measles. 

"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, can not be vaccinated because of their age or special health restrictions," wrote the Ministry of Health. "Therefore, an obligation must start as soon as possible and where people come into close contact with each other on a daily basis."

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