Measles will become endemic in Britain within 30 years unless vaccinations are made compulsory for school children, academics have suggested. The Telegraph reports.
A new study predicts current efforts will be insufficient to keep the disease at bay.
Last year, 3.7 per cent of the population was believed to be susceptible to measles, comfortably below the 7.5 per cent needed for “herd immunity”, the threshold below which outbreaks of measles tend not to spread.
However, the computer model analysis found that merely continuing with current practices will not be sufficient to suppress the tide of vaccine scepticism, meaning the proportion will break the 7.5 per cent barrier by 2050 at the latest.
Last month Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care Secretary, said he could not rule out the possibility that unvaccinated children would be sent home unless the immunisation rate improves.
France and Italy have already introduced compulsory vaccination in schools. Dr. Stefano Merler, from the Bruno Kessler Foundation, Italy: “Our results suggest that most of the countries we have studied would strongly benefit from the introduction of compulsory vaccination at school entry in addition to current immunisation programmes.”
Last month figures showed that more than half a million British children are now unvaccinated against measles, first-jab coverage among children reaching their second birthday in England now at 91 per cent.
Last night some British experts criticised the new study, which is published in the journal BMC Medicine, arguing that compulsory vaccination might exclude children whose families object from education.
Should the vaccine be made compulsory for all school children? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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