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Germany makes measles vaccine mandatory

The measles virus, paramyxoviridae from the Morbillivirus family, transmission microscopy view. (Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The measles virus, paramyxoviridae from the Morbillivirus family, transmission microscopy view. Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In Germany, parents must vaccinate their children for measles or face fines of several thousands of euros, per a new law that will take effect in March 2020.

Why it matters: The disease has returned and spread throughout the European Union over the past three years after decades of decline, according to the European Center for Disease Control.

  • The new law will also require any person born after 1970 who works with children in public institutions to be vaccinated. Exemptions will be allowed for medical reasons, and only a doctor can grant such permissions, the New York Times reports.

The other side: Critics suggest the mandate could negatively impact one's legal right to a place at a kindergarten and increase the challenge of finding available spots, German outlet DW Akademie writes.

  • German Health Minister Jens Spahn called the new bill a "child protection law" and a question of "individual responsibility."

The big picture: Globally, measles cases have continued to climb throughout 2019, according to the World Health Organization. Preliminary global data shows that reported cases rose 300% in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.

Go deeper: Measles can give your immune system amnesia