A measles outbreak at three London schools has prompted Public Health England to issue an urgent warning to headteachers, asking them to encourage staff, parents and children to get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The Guardian reports.
Measles cases worldwide rose by 300% during the first three months of 2019 and annual vaccination rates in the UK have fallen below the target of 95% of the population for several years.
Peter Openshaw, the former president of the British Society for Immunology and professor at Imperial College London said:
“No, the MMR shouldn’t be compulsory. That would only be counterproductive. People will react against it and think they are being bullied and not being listened to. The right way to increase the vaccination rate is to engage respectfully with people, listen to their point of view and provide accurate and reliable information. Trying to compel people to vaccinate would probably be ineffective and could produce a negative reaction that would make matters even worse. We should try to persuade parents it is the right thing to do and a safe thing to do, which will protect all children.”
Emily Proffitt, headteacher at Tittensor first school, Stoke on Trent said;
“No. I am all for vaccination and both my children were vaccinated at a time when there was a lot of scaremongering about the MMR vaccine and its now discredited link to autism. But I would not force other parents to vaccinate because we live in a democratic society and that means parents rightly have a choice. Also, the Equality Act 2010 states that we cannot discriminate against individuals who have protected characteristics. Therefore it would be wrong to deny a child an education based on a parent’s belief – religious or spiritual – that vaccination is wrong.
Catherine Soskice-Gandhi, mother of a child who is immunocompromised, north London said:
“Yes. My two-and-a-half-year-old son, Francis, was 13 weeks premature and has to take daily steroids, due to a chronic lung disease. Although he is fully vaccinated, the steroids suppress his immune system so there is still a risk he could catch measles, and if he does, he is at much higher risk of dangerous complications. He has spent months in intensive care.
“I always check before a playdate whether a child has been vaccinated and stay away from social gatherings if I know a child there is unvaccinated.”
Read the full article and the reasons behind parents decisions Should only MMR vaccinated children be allowed a school place?
Would you be happy knowing there were unvaccinated children at your school? Have you chosen not to vaccinate your child? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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