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Measles vaccination becomes mandatory in Germany

Measles vaccination is now compulsory in Germany (Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash)

A law requiring mandatory measles vaccinations has now become effective in Germany.

The Measles Protection Act, which was approved last November, obliges parents in Germany to vaccinate their children against measles or face a fine of up to 2,500 euros.

It entered into force on 1st March 2020. Commenting after the approval of the Act, Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn it was meant to protect children “against measles in schools and day-care facilities”.

Under the Act, proof of age-appropriate measles vaccination protection must be given when being admitted to day-care facilities or schools.

People who work in community and healthcare facilities must also be vaccinated against this dangerous infectious disease.

Mr Spahn said measles is underestimated yet it is highly contagious and can even lead to death.

“This infectious disease places above all those who cannot protect themselves – our children – at risk. This is why we are promoting measles protection in nursery schools, schools and child day-care facilities. And we are making it possible for the public health services to once again offer more serial vaccinations in schools. This also helps us in the fight against other infectious diseases, such as tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. Parents need to know that vaccination protects their child’s health,” Mr Spahn said.

Under the new Act, no child will be accepted into child day-care facilities, schools or other community facilities, unless they prove that they have received the measles vaccine. This requirement applies to all children who are at least one year old.

Those who wish to work in these facilities must also provide proof of full measles vaccine protection. The same applies to persons working in medical facilities.

All the people who live in refugee and asylum-seeker accommodation and staff members must also be vaccinated.

People with medical contraindications and those born before 1971 are exempted from mandatory vaccination. This also applies to persons who can prove that they had already had the disease.

One can provide proof of vaccination by presenting a vaccination booklet, the yellow health check-up booklet for children, or – especially if one has already had the disease – a medical certificate.

Children who are being cared for in a community facility, and persons already working in such facilities, must provide this proof by 31 July 2021.

The Act bars unvaccinated children from attending child day-care facilities. Unvaccinated personnel may also not be employed in community or healthcare facilities.

A fine of up to 2,500 euros can be imposed on parents who fail to vaccinate their children attending community facilities. The same fine also be imposed on the management of day-care facilities that admit unvaccinated children.

Unvaccinated personnel in community and healthcare facilities, as well as refugee accommodation centres and residents of the latter can be given the same fine.

In future, all doctors except dentists may administer vaccines.

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