Health Minister Hermann Gröhe has proposed a law obligating Kitas (nursery schools) to report parents to health officials if they cannot prove that they sought vaccination advice for their children, the ministry announced on Friday. Parents who do not show proof of such medical consultation face fines of up to €2,500.
Gröhe is pushing to have the proposed law passed by the Bundestag (German parliament) next Thursday.
“No one can be blasé about the fact that people are still dying of measles,” Gröhe told Bild.
“Therefore we are now toughening the regulations for vaccination protection.”
Parents have been required to show proof of going to vaccination consultation to Kitas since 2015. But currently it is up to nursery schools to decide whether to report parents to health officials.
The 2015 law also allowed for unvaccinated children to be temporarily excluded from their daycare or school facilities if there were to be a measles outbreak.
Gröhe has so far ruled out making vaccinations compulsory for school children, as Italy recently did.
But the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ) advocates for this policy.
“Without vaccinations, no Kita and also no other educational institutions,” BVKJ President Thomas Fischbach told Catholic news agency KNA earlier this month.
“We cannot tolerate the vaccination gap that is currently making measles epidemics possible again.”
A court recently ruled in the favour of vaccinations when a separated mother and father disagreed about whether to immunize their daughter. The mother objected, but the court ultimately favoured the father’s side, arguing that such a decision had significant consequences for the child.
A report released earlier this year found that Germany was among the worst countries in Europe for vaccinating children.