Nov 14, 2019

Germany makes measles vaccine mandatory

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

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WHO: Measles outbreaks spike globally

MMR vaccination. Priorix immunises against measles, mumps and rubella. Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Cases of measles around the world continue to spike, with major outbreaks in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, the World Health Organization said in a health update on Wednesday.

By the numbers: The infectious disease can be prevented with two doses of measles-containing vaccine. There have been 440,263 confirmed cases reported to the United Nations health agency as of Nov. 5. In 2018, there were about 350,000 cases.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019

Over 140,000, mostly children, died from measles in 2018

A medical assistant gives an MMR vaccine to an infant at the Medical Arts Pediatric Med Group in Los Angeles, 2015. Photo: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

142,300 people — mostly children under 5 years old — died from measles in 2018, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

The big picture: Cases of the vaccine-preventable infection continue to spike around the world. Ukraine, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Madagascar, Liberia and Somalia had the highest incidence rates of the infection in 2018.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Congress' partisan divide on paid family leave

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Congressional Republicans have come around to supporting paid family leave policies, but their ideas differ greatly from Democratic proposals, a New York Times analysis shows.

The big picture: Democrats back creating a federal fund for new parents that would be financed with a payroll tax increase, while Republicans have proposed plans that would allow new parents to dip into their future federal benefits.