BOSTON (CBS) — Routine childhood vaccines are often required for entry into school, but does making vaccines mandatory actually improve immunization rates? And what if families had to pay a penalty for failing to vaccinate? A new study in the journal Pediatrics aimed to answer these questions.

Researchers looked at 29 European countries and found those that legally mandate vaccinations for measles and pertussis or whooping cough, for example, had higher vaccination rates than countries that did not mandate them.

In countries with mandatory vaccination that did not allow families to opt-out for religious or other non-medical reasons, there were fewer measles cases.

But also, money talks. They found that countries that fined families for failing to meet the vaccination requirements had higher vaccination rates.

Dr. Mallika Marshall