Parents in Germany to be fined over £2000 for not vaccinating their children against measles
Germany will make measles vaccinations compulsory for children from next year amid concern about the number of cases of the infection in recent years.
The German government agreed on Wednesday to make vaccinations mandatory at all schools and kindergartens.
The new law will also apply to teachers and kindergarten staff.
From March next year, parents who can’t prove their children have been vaccinated or have a medical condition that exempts them will face fines of up to €2,500 (approx £2,246).
To prove they have been vaccinated, parents will have to hand over their children’s vaccination records.
“We want to save as many children as possible from measles infection,” Jens Spahn, the German health minister, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Measles is extremely contagious and can take a very nasty, at times deadly, turn.”
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According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC) Germany reported one of the highest numbers of measles cases in Europe between March 2018 and February this year, at 651.
More than 400 cases have already been reported so far this year.
The vaccination rate against measles in Germany is 92.9 per cent but it has been falling in recent years.
There are concerns the highly infectious disease is making a comeback as more parents refuse to have their children vaccinated.
The “anti-vaxxer” movement has been gaining momentum of late partly down to fears the vaccine may cause autism or other developmental disorders, but in fact there is no scientific evidence to support this.
Germany wouldn’t be the first country to take action on unvaccinated children if they do issue a ban on unvaccinated children.
Earlier this year a New York county hit by a measles outbreak banned non-vaccinated minors from public places in a bid to prevent the once-eliminated disease from spreading.
Meanwhile over in Australia, the Government has clamped down on its ‘no jab, no pay’ policy by issuing further fines for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.
Back in 2016, the revolutionary initiative withheld end of year tax benefits from families which refused to vaccinate their children.
But in a bid to crack down on even further, stricter sanctions have now been introduced which mean citizens who refuse to keep up to date with immunisations face losing $28 (approximately £16) from their tax benefits every two weeks.
READ MORE: Anti-vaccination advert banned, after warning parents vaccines “can kill”
The UK has also been hinting at a potential new vaccination policy.
Earlier this year the health secretary hinted that in the future British children who have not been given the MMR vaccine could be banned from school.
Matt Hancock refused to “rule out” the possibility that children who have skipped their immunisations would be sent home from lessons.
His warning comes as it was revealed recently that over half a million children have not been vaccinated against the potentially deadly measles.
Analysis by the children’s charity Unicef found that the UK is among the worst high-income countries for uptake of the jab, with a total of 527,000 put at risk of infection over the past eight years.
The Unicef figures reveal that vaccination coverage among children reaching their second birthday in England is now 91 per cent, with just 87 per cent receiving the second dose by their fifth birthday.
This falls below the 95 per cent coverage experts believe is necessary to achieve “herd-immunity”, where outbreaks are effectively unable to spread.