Vaccination fines

Vaccination in Israel is strongly encouraged after an outbreak of measles in 2018. Parents who choose not to might be fined as part of a proposed measure in the Knesset.

Parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids could be fined $540.06 if a measure approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday is enacted into law.

The bill would allow the Health Ministry to prevent unvaccinated children from attending school if there is a concern of an outbreak and would require it to monitor that pupils have been immunized in accordance with ministry recommendations, along with sending a warning to those who don’t get their children the necessary shots.

“Now we will be able to implement the national vaccination policy … which balances protecting public health with freedom,” said Zionist Union minister Yoel Hasson, who introduced the bill with Jewish Home minister Shuli Moallem-Refaeli. “I am happy to initiate a long-term solution that will protect our children’s health.”

More than 1,000 measles cases have been reported in Israel in 2018 with 90 percent of them from unvaccinated people or those who have contact with those who have not gotten the necessary shots.

Earlier this month, a Jerusalem toddler with Down syndrome died measles, though he had experienced a heart irregularity.

“Children who are not vaccinated are in danger of catching diseases and can spread them to those surrounding them and be the center for outbreaks of serious diseases that can have tragic results,” said Moallem-Refaeli, a professional nurse. “We must respond to parents who refuse to vaccinate from lack of knowledge or ideological reasons, and bring better public health.”

Due to the latest political turmoil, the bill is unlikely to get a final vote before the Knesset is recessed. However, if it passes a first reading, the government will be required to resume working on it after the 2019 election. JN

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