Get your children vaccinated or face fine: German health minister

German Health Minister Jens Spahn believes he has broad support for his draft law to oblige parents to get their children vaccinated against measles.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn believes he has broad support for his draft law to oblige parents to get their children vaccinated against measles.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (REUTERS) - German Health Minister Jens Spahn has drawn up draft legislation to oblige parents to get their children vaccinated against measles or else face fines and their exclusion from daycare.

Spahn's initiative comes amid a highly charged debate in Germany about whether the measles vaccine should be obligatory, and as the number of cases of the once-eradicated disease in the United States hit the highest levels since 2000.

"I want to eradicate measles," Spahn told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"Anyone going to a kindergarten or school should be vaccinated against measles," said Spahn, setting out his plans, which would oblige parents to show proof of vaccination.

"Whoever does not get their child vaccinated, faces up to 2,500 euros (S$3,800) in fines," he added.

Spahn believes he has broad support for his draft law in the ruling coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, to which he belongs, and the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD).

SPD health policy expert Karl Lauterbach spoke of a "very good basis" for a joint discussion. "It will not work without fines," he told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.