Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn wants to fine parents who refuse to vaccinate their children €2,500 ($2,800) in a bid to “eradicate measles,” according to an interview Spahn gave to Bild am Sonntag.
“Anyone going to a kindergarten or school should be vaccinated against measles,” he said, adding “Whoever does not get their child vaccinated, faces up to 2,500 euros in fines.”
A draft law put forward by Spahn would also throw unvaccinated children out of kindergarten, which he says would help protect children too young to receive immunizations.
“Kindergartens have children under 10 months of age, who are too young for vaccinations and are therefore especially threatened,” he said.
According to the Robert Koch Institute of Germany, 93% of children are immunized, however this falls short of the recommended rate of 95% to maintain herd immunity.
Spahn believes he has broad support for his draft law in the ruling coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, to which he belongs, and the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD).
SPD health policy expert Karl Lauterbach spoke of a “very good basis” for a joint discussion. “It will not work without fines,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper. –Reuters
Spahn’s bill has a different solution for parents of older schoolchildren, which are required by law to receive an elementary school education. So instead of removing the children from school, parents would just pay a fine.
For children with health conditions preventing them from getting vaccinated, such as organ recipients or people suffering from leukemia, parents would be required to provide proof of the medical condition.
By July 2020, all parents who attempt to sign their kids up for kindergartens or schools would be required top provide evidence that their children have been vaccinated.
Vaccinations would also become mandatory for hospital and other healthcare workers under the new law – which is currently being discussed in the Cabinet and is expected to be adopted this year, with a March 2020 enforcement date.