The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Germany Passes Mandatory Measles Vaccination Law
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.
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
Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.
Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.
By Dave Cooke
So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.
By Richard Connor
A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.