Decision of the bundestag: measles vaccination becomes mandatory

There was long and intense discussion, now the Bundestag has decided that measles vaccination is mandatory. It applies to day-care centers, schools and refugee shelters, among others. Refusals face fines of up to 2500 euros.

Children and staff in day-care centers and schools must in future be vaccinated against measles. The Bundestag has passed a law that provides for the exclusion of day-care centers and fines in the event of violation. The compulsory vaccination should also apply to child minders and residents and employees of refugee shelters and health facilities.

"Measles protection is child protection," said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) in the Bundestag. He defended the compulsory vaccination against the criticism of large sections of the opposition. The Union, SPD and FDP had voted for the law in second reading. The AfD voted against, the Greens and the Left abstained. In the roll-call final vote, 459 MPs voted for the law, 89 against, 105 abstained.

Fine of up to 2500 euros

Specifically, the law provides that parents who do not have their children cared for in an institution vaccinated can be fined up to 2500 euros. The children can be excluded from the day-care center, but not from school because of the general compulsory education. Daycare centers that look after unvaccinated children can also be fined.

Employees in community or health facilities can no longer work there if they refuse to be vaccinated. Exceptions apply to those under the age of one, because they should not be vaccinated yet, and people who cannot tolerate vaccinations.

The CDU member and doctor Rudolf Henke (CDU) emphasized that it was not about compulsory vaccination, but an obligation to provide evidence for the community facilities. The AfD MP Detlev Spangenberg replied that vaccinations must remain voluntary. The MP Kordula Schulz-Asche (Greens) argued that a comprehensive vaccination strategy makes more sense than compulsory vaccination. The left politician Gesine Lotzsch spoke out in favor of more vaccination advertising in schools. If soldiers could advertise for the Bundeswehr there, doctors for health should also be able to do so, she said.

92 percent of Germans fully vaccinated

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can cause severe inflammation of the brain or even death. There are no medications for treatment, so vaccination is the only protection. Two vaccinations are required for immunization. They are recommended between the first and second year of life.

The second vaccination is not a booster, but a repetition. The first vaccination will protect 90 to 95 percent of children; the remaining five to ten percent should be protected by the second vaccination.

In Germany, according to the World Health Organization, 92 percent of people are fully vaccinated, 97 percent received only one dose. A total protection of the population is assumed at a rate of 95 percent. Then those who cannot be vaccinated are also protected.

A survey by the Techniker Krankenkasse in October showed that around eleven percent of children born in 2016 were only incompletely vaccinated against measles by their second birthday. This means that every ninth small child nationwide is not fully protected against measles until the age recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission. According to the survey, around 7.5 percent of children of this age group have no measles vaccination at all. According to the Robert Koch Institute, 543 measles cases were reported in 2018.

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