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Germany vaccination: Fines plan as measles cases rise

Germany vaccination: Fines plan as measles cases rise

Vaccine and syringe - file pic Germany vaccination: Fines plan as measles cases rise

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Parents look set to be punished if they fail to get their children immunised

The German government plans to introduce fines of up to €2,500 (£2,178; $2,806) for parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated.

Health Minister Hermann Gröhe said it was necessary to tighten the law because of a measles epidemic. He was speaking to the popular daily Bild.

"Continuing deaths from measles cannot leave anyone indifferent," he said.

The government wants kindergartens to report on any parents who fail to show a doctor's note proving vaccination.

Failure to do so could mean expulsion of the child from the daycare centre, under the revised law. It is expected to be adopted next month.

A mother of three died of measles in the city of Essen this week.

Italy has recorded nearly three times as many measles cases so far this year than for all of 2016.

Last week the Italian government ruled that parents must vaccinate their children against 12 common illnesses before enrolling them at state-run schools.

Those illnesses include measles, polio, whooping cough and hepatitis B.

By mid-April this year Germany had 410 measles cases, compared with 325 for the whole of 2016, the Robert Koch Institute reported.

The institute said that besides children, all adults born since 1970 should get immunised against measles, if they had not had the measles jab or had had it only once.

Italian officials have attacked what they call "anti-scientific" theories which have led to vaccination rates falling well below levels deemed safe to prevent outbreaks.

Those theories include a long discredited link between autism and the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

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