"Too few" children being vaccinated in Germany: report

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-08 23:35:04|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BERLIN, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Vaccination rates among German children were consistently below 90 percent for important infectious disease such as measles, mumps or rubella, according to a report published by German health insurance company Barmer on Thursday.

More than every fifth child born in Germany 2015 was not vaccinated against measles in the first two years of life, or was incompletely vaccinated, the report stated.

"In Germany, there are still too few children being vaccinated," said Christoph Straub, chairman of the board at Barmer.

This, Straub said, made the eradication of infectious diseases in Germany, such as measles, impossible.

The proportion of children who had received the two planned measles vaccinations was only 78.9 percent, according to the report by Barmer.

Meanwhile, the measles vaccination rate among Barmer insured six-year-old children born in Germany in 2011 was 88.8 percent, the report showed.

"The vaccination gaps for small children in Germany are larger than previously known," said Daniel Grandt, author of the report and head physician at the clinic in Saarbruecken.

For the other two infectious diseases mumps and rubella, only 88.7 percent of six-year-olds in Germany were vaccinated against the two diseases in 2017, according to Barmer.

This was "extremely alarming" because children and adolescents would keep their vaccination gaps even in adulthood, according to Straub.

According to Germany public health institution Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the vaccination rate for the first measles vaccination for German children starting school was around 97 percent in 2017.

Nearly 93 percent of German school starters received the second measles vaccine, although if those without a vaccination certificate were considered unvaccinated, the vaccination rate would only be 81.4 percent, RKI noted.

German health minister Jens Spahn saw the new data from the health insurance company as a confirmation of the need for the planned measles vaccination requirement.

"No matter how you calculate it, it remains the same: too many children in Germany are unnecessarily at risk, because too few children have been vaccinated against measles," Spahn said on Thursday.

"Vaccination must become part of everyday life for everyone. Because vaccination saves lives," Spahn stressed.

The German cabinet recently passed a law for compulsory measles vaccination and starting in March 2020. Parents must prove that their children have been vaccinated before being admitted to a day care center or school.

The obligation to vaccinate would also apply to adults working in particular professions in Germany such as childminders, nursery staff, teachers, and medical employees.

Fines of up to 2500 euros (2,803 U.S. dollars) could be imposed for violations, according to the bill passed by the German cabinet, which still needed to be voted on in the Bundestag.