As part of an effort to improve faltering vaccination rates in Germany, Berlin wants its kindergarteners to inform authorities if their parents haven’t taken them for vaccinations. On Friday, the German Parliament is set to vote on the measure.
Adults and children have become more vulnerable to the measles and other potentially dangerous ailments as vaccination rates drop. Vaccinations are mandatory for children attending kindergarten, and parent who refuse to comply can be fined up to $2,800.
This can be can be difficult to enforce, however, as law enforcement can have trouble identifying who has refused the shots.
If passed, the measure could compel unvaccinated children to be expelled from their daycare centers, though there is some concern that data privacy regulations could be violated as a result.
So far in 2017, Germany has reported about 410 cases of the measles, which is more than last year’s total. In the city of Essen this month a 37-year-old mother of three died from the measles.
Health Minister Hermann Gröhe told German-language daily Bild that “Continuing deaths from measles cannot leave anyone indifferent … That’s why we are tightening up regulations on vaccination.”
Italy is also facing health issues, as it has recorded three times the number of measles cases in 2017 than last year. The Italian government released a list last week of all the diseases children must be vaccinated for prior to being enrolled in state-run schools, including whooping cough, Hepatitis B, measles and polio.
Europe has seen an outbreak of the contagious disease recently, with Romania reporting more than 3,400 cases in just the first month of 2017. Countries with low vaccination rates like Germany, France, Romania, Italy, Poland, Ukraine and Switzerland tend to have higher numbers of cases.
Europe’s World Health Organization Regional Director Zsuzsanna Jakab told the BBC in late March, “I urge all endemic countries to take urgent measures to stop transmission of measles within their borders, and all countries that have already achieved this to keep up their guard and sustain high immunisation coverage.”
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