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Germany makes measles vaccinations compulsory

By Danielle Haynes

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.

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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.

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