Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Germany's Parliament on Thursday passed legislation making measles vaccinations mandatory for children.
Under the new law, expected to go into effect in March, parents face fines of up to $2,700 if they fail to immunize their children. Those without the vaccination may not be allowed to attend school or day care.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn described the legislation as a "child protection law."
"My idea of freedom does not stop at my level as an individual," he said. "Rather, when I sit here in a room like this with 500 or 600 colleagues, in a cinema or on a train, when it comes to community facilities, it is also a question of whether I am unnecessarily putting others at risk. And a measles infection is an unnecessary danger in 2019."
A global measles outbreak over the past year caused four European countries to lose their measles-eliminated status -- Albania, Britain Czech Republic and Greece. A country is declared to have eliminated measles when it is absent of continuous transmission of the disease for 12 months.
The World Health Organization said there must be a 95 percent vaccination rate in order to have herd immunity and prevent an infection outbreak.