Government: Strict vaccination rules are coming soon

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Government wants to tighten vaccination rules due to the increase in measles cases

After the number of measles cases has increased significantly in recent months, especially in Bavaria, Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia, the demand for a vaccination in Germany is becoming louder and louder. Health Minister Daniel Bahr started. Now the president of the doctor Frank Ulrich Montgomery and the Union are also in favor of stricter vaccination rules. The request also seems to find more and more supporters among the population. A recent survey commissioned by the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit found that almost 80 percent of those questioned advocate compulsory vaccination. The World Health Organization (WHO) aims to eradicate measles as soon as possible. However, the current measles outbreak in Germany stands in the way.

Tighter vaccination rules difficult to enforce Frank Ulrich Montgomery, President of the German Medical Association, believes that the vaccination rules need to be tightened. "From a medical-scientific point of view, compulsory vaccination is the only sensible thing," said the radiologist to the news magazine "Spiegel". “Measles is a highly contagious disease with a high risk potential for the non-vaccinated population. Therefore, it would be good if all children were vaccinated. "Montgomery sees sociopolitical difficulties in introducing compulsory vaccination in Germany.

After all, 79 percent of those questioned in a DAK survey were in favor of vaccination. The next few weeks will show just how popular the vaccination obligation among the population is, because the topic remains controversial.

Health Minister Daniel Bahr (FDP) had sparked the debate about introducing compulsory vaccination when, in view of the increasing number of measles cases, he had described the fact that many parents did not have their children vaccinated as irresponsible. The minister told Der Spiegel that other measures to curb measles would also be examined, such as the temporary exemption from instruction for non-vaccinated students in the event of an outbreak of the disease. So far, only sick children can be excluded from class. In addition, the vaccination status of a child should in future be queried at admission to kindergarten and not only at school, as currently provided. However, such measures could only be adopted by the Bundestag after the election.

"In principle, only children who have been vaccinated should be able to attend daycare centers, kindergartens or schools," Jens Spahn, health spokesman for the Union faction, urged the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung" (FAS). Otherwise, other children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons would be at risk.

Critics reject compulsory vaccination Many critics see the introduction of compulsory vaccination primarily as a restriction of the parents' right to self-determination. Some parents are also worried about unwanted side effects of vaccination. However, as the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit informs, permanent health damage only occurs in one out of a million children vaccinated against measles. Harmless side effects such as fever, fatigue, headache and redness, pain and swelling locally occurring at the injection site can occur as with all vaccinations.

However, the severe consequences that measles disease can have are far more common than those that result from vaccination. One of 10,000 patients suffers from the dreaded, always fatal, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) as a late consequence of a measles infection, and severe brain inflammation affects around one in 1,000 people. In addition, measles may have other serious complications such as pneumonia, which in the worst case may also result in the patient's death.

Jan Leidel, head of the permanent vaccination commission (STIKO) of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), nevertheless speaks out against compulsory vaccination. The population would be skeptical of any compulsory vaccination - like any compulsion. The expert explained to the “FAS” that it made more sense to use existing opportunities and to clarify them better. Jens Ackermann, chairman of the FDP in the health committee, told the newspaper that vaccination is not enforceable. "Should parents who refuse to vaccinate their children go to prison?" In an interview with the newspaper "Rheinische Post", Leidel also asked himself what the consequences of not complying with the vaccination obligation should be.

Image: Andreas Morlok /

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