Schools should ask all parents to prove their four- or five-year-old has had their two recommended doses of the vaccine before they can attend, leading GPs say in a letter to ministers seen by the Guardian.
The four London GPs, who include a former government adviser on health policy, have urged the health secretary, Matt Hancock, and the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, to embrace the proposed change in policy. Doing so would save lives and tackle dangerous “complacency” among parents who do not ensure that their child is fully immunised, they say.
Their move comes as the proportion of five-year-olds in England receiving both doses has fallen in recent years to 87.2%, below the 95% the World Health Organization says is necessary to provide herd immunity and in effect eradicate measles, mumps and rubella. Public Health England figures show that cases of measles and mumps are rising sharply, a trend that doctors fear is linked to parents heeding misinformation spread by anti-vaccination campaigners.
Hancock recently refused to rule out a switch to mandatory MMR for primary schoolchildren and said anti-vaxxers had “blood on their hands”. “I do think we need to consider all options. I don’t want to reach the point of compulsory vaccination, but I will rule nothing out,” he said.
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