Germany's Health Minister Proposes Major Fine On Parents Who Don't Vaccinate Kids

Jens Spahn wants to crack down on those who don't protect their children and others against measles.

While measles vaccines in the U.S. are not federally mandated, in Germany, one official wants to hit parents with a nearly $2,800 fine if they neglect to get their children immunized.

In an interview printed Sunday with German weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag and reported by ABC News, the country’s health minister, Jens Spahn, said parents should pay a maximum of 2,500 euros if they are unable to prove that their children have received the shot. That’s about $2,790.

Spahn is also seeking to bar children who aren’t vaccinated against measles from attending day care in an effort to safeguard vulnerable groups who are unable to be immunized for reasons of age or medical complications.

The proposal hasn’t yet been discussed by the cabinet, ABC noted, and it’s unclear whether it would be approved.

In a statement released last week, Spahn raised concerns that despite educational campaigns, immunization rates in the nation haven’t risen much.

“Therefore, the measles vaccination in kindergarten and school must be mandatory,” he added. “For those who vaccinate not only protect themselves, but also the community. Ninety-five percent of the population must be vaccinated against measles so that this highly contagious viral disease can be eradicated. That’s our goal.”

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s latest monthly report on measles, released in April, 164 cases were reported in Germany within the first two months of 2019. However, the majority of the cases reported in Europe since March 2018 were seen in Italy, France, Greece and Romania.

In the U.S., the measles outbreak has continued to grow, sounding the alarm from coast to coast. As of April 26, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had counted 704 reported cases of the infection, which was once declared eradicated from the country 20 years ago.

In February, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told Axios that the federal government may take action if the spread continues and states don’t tighten vaccine exemptions.