German Health Minister Jens Spahn starts an initiative obliging parents to vaccinate their children against measles.
Based on the legislation filed by Spahn, those who do not get their child vaccinated will have to pay up to €2,500 or about $2,800.
Get A Jab Or Pay The Fine
Spahn's proposal to fine parents of school-aged children who do not have measles vaccination aims to boost measles vaccination rate amid rising concerns that the highly contagious viral disease could make a comeback in the country.
"I want to eradicate measles," Spahn told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
The official further said that anyone going to a kindergarten or school should be vaccinated against measles. This effort will help protect younger children and those who are medically unable to receive measles immunization such as organ recipients or people suffering from leukemia.
Elementary education is mandated in Germany so parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids will have no choice but to pay the fine. By July 2020, parents who will sign up their children for kindergartens or schools would need to provide proof that their children have been vaccinated.
Mandatory vaccination will also apply to employees of hospitals and private medical facilities.
The draft measure is now under deliberation in the Cabinet.
Spahn believes that the ruling coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the left-leaning Social Democrats will support the proposal. If adopted this year, the measure will be enacted in March 2020.
Measles Cases In Germany And Europe
In Europe, a total of 82,596 cases of measles were recorded in 2018 with 72 measles-related deaths. Majority of the infections, or 53,218, were from Ukraine. In the first 10 weeks of 2019, Germany had a total of 203 reported cases of measles, which is more than twice as in the same period last year.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, from March 2018 to February 2019, both France and Italy documented more than 2,400 measles cases each. Greece had more than 1,400 measles cases, and Britain reported over 900 in the same period. France, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Belgium had the highest counts of reported measles cases. Notable increases were observed in France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Ireland.
According to ECDPC, cases of measles in Europe mainly occur in unvaccinated populations in both adults and children. Large outbreaks with cases of deaths happen in countries that have previously eliminated measles or have interrupted endemic transmission.
At least 19 countries and territories worldwide are intensifying national immunization program activities in order to update or complete vaccination schedules in children.