Quantcast

Germany Passes Mandatory Measles Vaccination Law

Health + Wellness
A measure that would fine parents who refuse to vaccinate their children passed Germany's parliament Thursday. Self Magazine / CC BY 2.0

A measure that would fine parents who refuse to vaccinate their children for measles close to $2,800 passed Germany's parliament Thursday, the Associated Press reported.


Lawmakers approved the bill 459 to 89, with 105 abstaining. The law, which will enter into effect next March, will require that parents wishing to enter their children in preschool prove that they have been vaccinated, The New York Times explained. Children at the mandatory school age of six or older must also have proof of vaccination. Parents who cannot prove this by Aug. 1, 2021 could face a fine of up to 2,500 euros (approximately $2,790), according to the Associated Press.

"A measles infection is an unnecessary threat in 2019," German health minister Jens Spahn, who drafted the legislation, said, according to The Guardian.

Spahn championed the legislation because measles has been on the rise in recent years despite the existence of the vaccine, partly because of the anti-vaccination movement. Germany has seen 501 cases so far this year, according to the Associated Press, and The Guardian reported that it saw 543 last year. In Europe as a whole, cases increased by 350 percent last year. And, in the first half of 2019, Europe saw around 90,000 cases, double the amount it had seen by the same time last year, according to The New York Times.

The German law will also require vaccinations for adults born after 1970 who work with children. Older children will need to prove they have been vaccinated by July 31, 2021, The New York Times explained.

The bill was supported by the center-right Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats, according to The Guardian. The Green Party opposed the legislation because, while it supports vaccination, it thought it should be encouraged through education, not imposed by law.

Spahn, however, rejected the argument that the law infringed on individual rights.

"My understanding of freedom does not stop at my level as an individual," he said before the vote, as The New York Times reported. "It is also a question of whether I am unnecessarily putting others at risk. Freedom also means that I will not be unnecessarily put at risk and that is precisely why, from the point of view of preserving freedom, this law is a good law, because it protects freedom and health."

Other countries may now follow Germany's lead. UK health secretary Matt Hancock said in September that he was "looking very seriously" at making vaccines mandatory for students at state schools, The Guardian reported.

The rise in measles cases has also spread to the U.S., where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 1,261 cases in 31 states so far this year, The New York Times reported.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Phthalates, a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break, affect health in many ways. Tatyana Tomsickova Photography / Moment / Getty Images

By George Citroner

  • Exposure to phthalates was associated with autism traits in boys (but not girls) between ages 3 and 4 years, according to a new study.
  • However, the risk was diminished in women who took folic acid during their pregnancy.
  • This study is the first to find that folic acid supplements provide a protective effect from phthalates.

Exposure in the womb to a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals called phthalates was associated with autism traits in boys (but not girls) between ages 3 and 4 years, according to a new study.

Read More
A coral and fish community at the Great Barrier Reef, northeast of Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia, on Aug. 28, 2018. Francois Gohier / VWPics / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Researchers released a sobering study this week showing that all of the world's coral reefs may be lost to the climate crisis by 2100.

Read More
Sponsored
A three-year-old recently found a rare candy-pink grasshopper. Allison Barger

A rare pink grasshopper was discovered by a three-year-old exploring his Austin, Texas garden earlier this week. An image of the candy-colored insect was shared by the boy's mother Allison Barger, according to KXAN, an NBC affiliate.

Read More
Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London on Jan. 29, 2020, following an announcement that British Airways was suspending all flights to and from mainland China amid the escalating coronavirus crisis. Steve Parsons / PA Images via Getty Images

By Sophia Wagner

Many people find chasing through the clouds thousands of meters above the ground in a metal tube not too reassuring. Nevertheless, airplanes are one of the safest means of transport of all. But what is the situation apart from the accident statistics?

Read More
Flames from a flaring pit near a well in the Bakken Oil Field. The primary component of natural gas is methane, which is odorless when it comes directly out of the gas well. Orjan F. Ellingvag / Corbis / Getty Images

The oil and gas industry may be contributing even more to the climate crisis than we thought.

Read More