The measure has been proposed by Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, who has presented for the government’s consideration a bill that includes a fine of up to 2,500 euros for parents who do not vaccinate their school-age children against measles.
For Spahn “the goal is not to fine people, but to ensure that they are immunized. We want to eradicate measles and that all parents feel confident that their children will not be infected.”
The bill would prohibit young children (from preschool age) who have not been vaccinated from attending school. It would be mandatory for children from 6 years and parents who do not comply with the regulations, must pay the fine.
Spahn’s legislation is a national replica of the federal state policy of Brandenburg, the first to consider vaccines mandatory for children attending kindergarten.
In this regard, the World Health Organization has recently issued a warning about the growing threat of measles. According to the WHO, measles cases increased 300% in 2019 compared to the first quarter of 2018. Over Europe, more than 34,000 infected people have been detected in the first two months of the year, 25,000 of them in Ukraine. For its part, Germany has reached 300 cases between January and February, when in all of 2018 it reached 500.
For Berthold Koletzko, a pediatrician at one of the largest hospitals in Munich, “it is alarming that children lose the vaccine – he said in a WHO statement -. What we are seeing is that more and more parents are no longer aware of the dangers of these diseases. When I grew up, many of us met children who suffered damage because of them. We, in hospitals, still see its impact, but for new generations of parents, it can be something very far away.
Measles is highly contagious, but also completely preventable, provided there is a vaccination. In fact it is very rare that, even vaccinated (both doses), measles is contracted, something that occurs in 2% of cases.
The WHO conclusion is that if “the response to outbreaks is not timely and complete, the virus will find its way to vulnerable people and potentially spread to other countries inside and outside the region.”
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