Germany Nears Mandatory Vaccination Program Launch

Measles vaccination requirement for German school staff and students pending
german people in a crowd

The German government is proposing mandatory measles vaccinations for students and staff of schools. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet approved the plan on July 17, 2019, reported AP News. Lawmakers in parliament are expected to approve the law. 

In the proposed vaccination program beginning in March 2020, parents of school-aged children, starting at kindergarten, will have to provide proof of vaccination.

Non-compliance with this mandate means children will be refused admittance to kindergarten and their parents possibly fined. Parents of older students will be fined up to $2,803. 

This action is related to the worldwide measles outbreak impacting most countries, including Germany.  According to news reports, there were 543 cases of measles registered in Germany during 2018 and over 400 measles cases in 2019.

As of July 11, 2019, Ukraine leads Europe’s measles outbreak with 55,776 Cases.

The World Health Organization's (WHO) European regional office reported on July 16, 2019, that the region achieved 91 percent coverage for the 2nd dose of measles vaccine.

This level of coverage is an improvement, however, it is not uniform across the Region nor high enough to ensure herd immunity to stop the spread of measles.

Measles symptoms

Measles is highly contagious and can spread to others through coughing and sneezing. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, most people close to that person who are not immune to the virus will also become infected. 

Measles symptoms appear 7 to 14 days after contact with the virus and typically include high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. The measles rash appears 3 to 5 days after the first symptoms.

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet.

Measles vaccines

To alert international visitors to Germany, both the Canadian government and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Level 1 measles alerts for Germany in 2019.   

The CDC suggests visitors to Germany are current with certain vaccines, such as Routine Vaccines and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. You should plan to be fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks before you depart. 

In the USA, the MMR-II vaccine is a live virus vaccine, containing weakened forms of measles virus, mumps virus, and rubella virus. 

As of July 1, 2019, the CDC updated its private sector vaccine prices for general information.     

And, the CDC’s Vaccines For Children program offers vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. Additional financial support programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts.  

Measles news

Pre-departure vaccination services, related travel medications, and counseling appointments can be scheduled with a local pharmacy by visiting Vax-Before-Travel.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report vaccine side effects to the CDC.

Article by
Dani Reiter