German Parents Who Refuse to Vaccinate Will Face Fines of Up to 2,500 Euros

Facing an increase in the number of measles cases and the number of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, the German government has recently passed a law that will enforce vaccine requirements by fining their parents. The fine can be up to 2,500 euros (about $2,750), and the law goes into effect in March 2020. According to The New York Times:

“Under the law, immunizations will also be required for adults born after 1970 who work with children in public institutions, such as day care centers, schools or hospitals. Exceptions will only be allowed for medical reasons and only a doctor can grant them.

Older children already in school will have until July 31, 2021, to prove that they have been vaccinated. Schools and other public institutions will have to report parents who refuse to immunize their children to local health authorities, which will then be authorized to take action on a case-by-case basis.

In extreme cases, parents could face fines of up to 2,500 euros, or about $2,750, for failing to comply.

Albania, Britain, the Czech Republic and Greece, which had declared measles eliminated, joined 12 other nations — including France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Russia — where the disease is now considered by the organization to be endemic.

Even in European countries where vaccination against measles is already required, including Bulgaria, France, Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, the number of cases has been on the rise.

The disease has also been resurgent in the United States, with 1,261 individual cases of measles confirmed in 31 states so far in 2019, the C.D.C. reported this month.”

Germany is not the only country taking similar steps of fines and other penalties against parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Countries like Australia, Italy and the United States have recently passed laws and regulations to encourage parents to vaccinate. From Vox:

“Here’s a quick roundup of the global crackdown on vaccine-refusing parents:

  • In Germany on Thursday, lawmakers passed a law stating that parents need to prove they’ve vaccinated their kids against measles — or risk fines up to €2,500 (about $2,750). Unvaccinated children also risk losing their places in school.
  • Italy’s parliament passed a law that makes 10 childhood vaccinations mandatory for kids up to age 16, and requires parents to prove their children are immunized before entering school or else face a €500 (about $560) noncompliance fine. And kids who aren’t vaccinated are being told not to come to school.
  • In France, the health ministry made 11 vaccines — up from the current three (diphtheria, tetanus, and polio) — mandatory for children, though there’s no talk of a fine yet.
  • Further afield, New South Wales, Australia, passed “no jab, no play” legislation in September 2017: The law bans unvaccinated kids from preschool and day care and fine the directors of schools that admit un-immunized children $5,500 Australian dollars ($4,400). The law in New South Wales is modeled on similarly stringent laws in other Australian states, and across the country, parents with children who aren’t immunized aren’t eligible for child care benefits.
  • In the US, New York — where a large measles outbreak raged on for nearly a year — the government threatened parents who don’t vaccinate their children with a fine of up to $1,000.

These fines come amid a growing problem with measles globally. Over the past two years, measles cases have been edging up in countries around the world, with a 300 percent rise in cases over the same period in 2018, according to the World Health Organization.”

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Author: René F. Najera, DrPH

I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, an online project by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. All opinions expressed on these blog posts are not necessarily those of the College or any of my employers. Check out my professional profile on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/renenajera Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen

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