Doctors call for compulsory measles jabs in schools

The level of UK measles immunisation has fallen to below herd immunity rates

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Schools should ban children who have not received their measles vaccination, according to some UK doctors.

Measles cases are at their highest levels in Europe for a decade, and doctors say the UK is falling behind on vaccination.

Dr Eleanor Draeger said there is a risk of measles becoming “endemic”.

"We would argue that the UK now needs to legislate to increase vaccination rates, as current measures aren’t keeping rates high enough to ensure herd immunity," she said.

Uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in the UK is 94.9 per cent for the first dose, but drops to 87.4 per cent for the second dose.

It means the country is falling short of the 95 per cent needed for widespread immunity.

Dr Draeger said compulsory jabs won’t infringe a parent’s right to choose.

"Passing a law that stops children attending nursery or school unless their vaccinations are up to date or they are medically exempt would allow free choice while protecting vulnerable children."

Other doctors argued the UK should focus on other methods before bringing in compulsory immunisation.

Paediatrician Dr David Elliman said it could have "unintended" consequences.

He said parents may resort to home schooling if their children were denied entry to local schools.

And poorer parents would suffer more if vaccination were attached to welfare payments.

"We believe that the UK should concentrate on improving its infrastructure and not risk alienating parents unnecessarily."

A recent House of Lords debate favoured improving services rather than making immunisation compulsory.

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