Germany measles: Toddler death fuels compulsory vaccination debate

Feb 27, 2015

By BBC News

An 18-month-old boy has died of measles in an outbreak of the disease that has seen authorities in Berlin register more than 500 cases since October.

The boy died in hospital and it was not clear how he contracted the disease, Berlin’s health senator Mario Czaja said on Monday.

The outbreak has sparked a debate over whether vaccinations against the disease should be made compulsory.

US authorities are also reporting more than 120 new cases in California.

The death of the young boy showed that measles continued to be a serious disease, Mr Czaja said. The disease is treatable but can weaken the immune system and cause lung and brain infections.


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10 comments on “Germany measles: Toddler death fuels compulsory vaccination debate

  • I find very surprising that, in Germany, such a vaccine isn’t mandatory…
    Actually, it isn’t mandatory here in Italy either… but strongly recommended and freely available.



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  • Could someone clarify do they mean measles in Germany or German Measles (Rubella) in Germany?

    The death of a child from rubella is the key to the plot of one of the Agatha Christie mysteries.



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  • Roedy Feb 27, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Could someone clarify do they mean measles in Germany or German Measles (Rubella) in Germany?

    The death of a child from rubella is the key to the plot of one of the Agatha Christie mysteries.

    The article says Measles, but there could be confusion because the usual vaccine is the triple MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine.



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  • 5
    RandyPing says:

    How is it, by any reasonable standard, that anyone has the right to endanger public health by refusing vaccination? These people who spread this anti-vaccination nonsense should be held legally accountable for any deaths as murderers.



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  • A vaccine should graduate to mandatory after safety confirmed by historic usage.
    Seat belts are proven better worn than not and they’re mandatory in most sensible nations. An infectious disease infecting anyone is significantly more dangerous than a car crash as unlike a car, a disease doesn’t break down and stop at collision. Instead, it can escalate to affecting and killing millions, maybe even billions. The scale is so far beyond the significance of a seat belt or not, that’s it’s criminal anyone can refuse it for their children. Criminal as the infection can go on in a society and kill innocents well beyond any moral or ethical consideration of the expected ‘rights’ a parent may have to choose the life path for their own children.

    Scary stuff really. Especially the people refusing to believe immunisation via vaccine is real or safe. It’s far more dangerous than the hate speech of religious fundamentalists calling for pogroms or jihad or whatever the nomenclature of murder they desire, yet hate speech is illegal, anti-vaccination soap-boxing is not. They need to be criminalised and processed as such if they cannot prove what they have to say is true.



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  • If human ethics means anything, to me it means we have a duty to each other, to protect those unable to be vaccinated or those who are immune compromised. We also have a duty to try to where ever possible eradicate diseases from the face of the Earth.



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  • endanger public health

    On the CBC, the discussion went on for months never mentioning the public health issue. It was purely a matter of self interest side effects vs effectiveness. I wrote over and over about the need to vaccinate to protect others. Eventually the point started to be made by many people. I don’t know if my writing had any effect, or just the public health people decided to try a new tack.

    The reluctance to vaccinate could be just that the public health issue has not yet sunk in. I noticed somewhere an article that Germany was debating mandatory vaccines. Moving the public takes time.

    Another point. There is a threshold, IIRC about 95% vaccinated where the public in general including newborns, and people with compromised immune systems are effectively protected. Here in Canada the loons have pushed us below that threshold. This is causing renewed concern. Prior to that the medical community was willing to humour the crackpots.

    The latest flu vaccine turned out to be unusually ineffective. There was much discussion that it was almost useless. The flu vaccine got muddled with all vaccines.

    If you google vaccine images you discover a quite slick anti-vaccine lobby, with an overwhelming amount of legitimate-looking material. They play on fears of needles. They twist the fact we now have vaccines for so many diseases into a criminal conspiracy to poke your child mercilessly and sell vaccines. We humans did not invent the diseases, just the vaccines for them.



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  • OP :

    The outbreak has sparked a debate over whether vaccinations against the disease should be made compulsory.

    What’s the debate about ? Not about effing “freedom of choice” I hope. The “freedom” to infect other humans. I had measles as a kid and so did my daughter, (un-vaccinated for medical reasons), but we both came through it OK. But some don’t. Infectious disease is no joke, no-one has the “right” to spread it.



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  • I think you will find that it was the mother who caught rubella, causing her to give birth to a handicapped child. Many years later she met the woman who had given her the disease and murderd her.



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