On Sunday (1st of March, 2020), measles vaccination for children is made compulsory. Under the new amendments, children’s vaccinations against measles must be documented if not, schools are required to alert the local public health officials.
Proof of vaccinations must be presented by July of the following year, parents who refuses to get their children vaccinated will face penalties of fines of up to $2,760 (USD).
However, the law has not come into force without criticism. The German GEW (Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft) teachers’ union said that although it supports the mandatory vaccination law, the trouble of having to obtain the proof of vaccination from reluctant parents will put teachers at risk. After the passing of the new law, a group of parents protested outside the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, filing complaints that the law violates their constitutional rights.
Lawmakers cited Germany’s failure to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended immunization levels of 95%, which is required for a country to prevent a mass outbreak.
A report by Germany’s Robert Koch Institute has found out that just 93% of children starting school have received both the first and second measles vaccines.
The law was initially passed as a set of amendments to the already-existing Protection Against Infection Act, this law will also be used to mobilize Germany’s management of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.