Germany’s health minister proposed imposing a fine on parents who have not vaccinated their children against measles, ABC News reports.
Minister Jens Spahn told Germany weekly Bild am Sonntag that parents of school-aged children who do not have proof they have vaccinated their kids for measles should pay a fine of up to $2,500 euros, or $2,790.
Spahn also proposed banning children who have not been vaccinated from daycare facilities.
It’s unclear if Spahn’s proposal will be implemented by the government. German Medical Association head Frank Ulrich Montgomery called the proposal “an important step at the right time.”
Germany had 203 reported cases of measles in the first two-plus months of the year, more than twice as the same period last year.
The United States has seen more than 700 cases this year.
Measles cases grow as a result of anti-vaxxer misinformation:
A study by UNICEF found that tens of thousands of people, mostly children, continue to die from measles and the number has actually increased over the last few years. The researchers point to children who have not been vaccinated as the cause for the increase.
“A UNICEF study published last week found measles killed 110,000 people globally in 2017, mostly children. That's up 22% from the year before. The report concluded that the rise is due to 20 million children a year missing the first dose of the measles vaccine,” CNN reported.
US leads high-income countries in unvaccinated children:
The United States has the highest rate of unvaccinated children among all high-income countries, according to the World Health Organization. As a result, measles cases have reached the highest number since the disease was declared eradicated in the country in 2000.
“Experts blame the rise on misinformation about the virus and the vaccine that has led some parents to refuse to vaccinate their children,” CNN reported.
While American lawmakers have done little to respond to the outbreaks, other countries have taken a harder tact.
United Kingdom Health Secretary Matt Hancock ripped anti-vaccine activists as "morally reprehensible, deeply irresponsible,” adding they had “blood on their hands.”