Germany's Federal Constitutional Court on Thursday upheld a measles vaccination requirement in day care centers and schools.
The compulsory vaccination rule has been in force since March 2020.
The top court rejected an appeal by four parents to overturn the law after they claimed it interfered with their fundamental right to physical integrity.
The court admitted that the mandate interfered with the parents' and children's rights but ultimately ruled that it was justified as requiring vaccination was necessary to protect vulnerable groups who cannot get the jab against measles themselves.
What is the measles vaccine mandate?
Under the law, children must be "verifiably" vaccinated against measles, or recovered from the disease.
If a child's immunization is not documented, schools are required to notify the local public health office.
It is not possible to exclude unvaccinated children from schools, because of a legal obligation to education, but parents who refuse to vaccinate their children face fines of up to €2,500 ($2,760).
Unvaccinated children, however, can be excluded from day care centers.
Children who have a medical intolerance for the vaccine are exempt.
Germany's expert vaccine commission, the Standing Committee on Vaccination (StiKo), recommends a first vaccination against measles in children aged 11 to 14 months. A second vaccination should be given at 15 to 23 months.
The StiKo also recommends vaccination against measles for anyone born after 1970 and has not been vaccinated against the disease. Adults who have only received the vaccination once in childhood or whose vaccination status is unclear are also recommended to get the jab.
Before the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963 and widespread vaccination, major epidemics occurred approximately every two to three years. Some 2.6 million people died from the highly contagious disease every year — with children the most vulnerable. But by the turn of the millennium, some countries had declared the disease "eradicated."
In recent months, however, governments around the globe have been forced to take action once again to combat the steady return of measles cases and a growing skepticism towards vaccination.
You can read this article as it originally appears at Deutsche Welle here.
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