German parliament to consider compulsory vaccination laws

DPA/The Local
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German parliament to consider compulsory vaccination laws
Photo: DPA

Measles cases increased by 350% in Europe last year due to lower vaccination rates. The Federal Ministry of Health ‘welcomes’ debate on making vaccination for the disease compulsory. Not everyone in the Bundestag is on board, however.


In Germany and abroad, the topic of vaccination has become increasingly controversial in recent years.

Online fake news campaigns and an increasingly organized ‘anti-vaccination lobby’ has prompted parents to refuse to vaccinate their children, leading to an increase in previously dormant diseases such as measles. 

In response, the German government is considering a proposal which would make measles vaccination compulsory for all children.

SEE ALSO: Germany 'among worst in Europe' for vaccinating children

A spokesman told DPA that the Health Ministry was very concerned about the increased prevalence of the disease. 

The plan has received support from the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), which both make up the grand coalition. Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said he was “confident that we can present a proposal soon”. 

The Greens however have criticized the decision, arguing that while vaccination should be encouraged this should take place through an education campaign rather than by making it mandatory. 

Measles has increased dramatically in Europe in recent years, with the number of reported cases jumping to 23,927 people affected in 2017, compared to only 5273 the previous year. 

SEE ALSO: What to know about the flu and getting vaccinated against it in Germany

Currently German laws require mandatory vaccination counselling for parents who want to send their children to day care centres, however the decision to vaccinate is still in the hands of the parents. 

Mandatory vaccination laws have been introduced elsewhere in Europe. Italy, France, Romania and Finland are some of the countries in which compulsory vaccination has been introduced. 

The idea of compulsory vaccination originated in the United Kingdom in the 1800s under the Vaccination Act. Parents who refused to vaccinate their kids could be charged £1. 

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Other schemes to encourage vaccination have been implemented in different countries worldwide. In Australia vaccination is a requirement of pre-school attendance and family support payments, while in some US states unvaccinated children will be denied access to public schools. 


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