Anti-vaccination movement

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.

Measles can give your immune system amnesia

Illustration of an image of an immune system with lymphocyte cells with tears through it
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

During the two to three years after a measles infection, a person can have immune system "amnesia," where the system appears to forget the prior illnesses and vaccinations that triggered immunity, making the person vulnerable to sometimes-deadly infections.

Why it matters: A number of people are deliberately not getting vaccinated, with some fighting new restrictions on exemptions. But, two new papers provide more evidence that getting measles appears to have longer-term implications than originally thought.