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Kids Should Be Banned From School If They Haven't Been Vaccinated, Doctors Confirm

Kids Should Be Banned From School If They Haven't Been Vaccinated, Doctors Confirm

After a worrying spike in cases of measles and mumps, senior GPs in London are pleading with cabinet ministers to institute mandatory vaccines.

In a letter to ministers of the United Kingdom cabinet, four general practitioners who hold senior positions at clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in London urged a policy shift as a method to tackle parent apathy and "complacency" when it comes to vaccinations, The Daily Mail reports. The senior GPs reinstated their support for legislation that would make it mandatory for children to receive their MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella) vaccinations before being admitted into primary school, suggesting that the move would combat the shocking rise in once-eradicated illnesses such as measles and mumps.



 

As of late, misinformation regarding vaccinations has been widespread, exacerbated through social media platforms. Earlier this year, the United Kingdom's Royal Society for Public Health claimed that social media had become a so-called "breeding ground for misleading information" from anti-vaxxers, a community of individuals - and most notably, parents - who believe that vaccinations serve no purpose and in fact, can even be detrimental to one's health. Of course, this is false - but the movement has steadily gained traction over the years.



 

Therefore, the senior GPs implored in their letter, "Schools need to check that all their pupils have been vaccinated. In other countries, certificates of vaccination are required prior to school entry. Here in the United Kingdom, we could mandate that all children need to be vaccinated by a health professional, allowing for exemptions for either conscientious objection or medical contraindication. There is a precedent in the UK. Vaccination against smallpox was made compulsory for all children born after 1853 and today doctors need to show evidence of vaccination or immunity from various illnesses so we do not put patients at risk." The letter was signed by Sir Sam Everington, chair of the London Clinical Commissioning Council, in addition to Dr. Mohini Parmar, Dr. Andrew Parson, and Dr. Josephine Sauvage. All four persuaded Matt Hancock, the health secretary, and Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, to support the recommendation.



 

The letter was perhaps a result of the latest spike in measles and mumps in the European nation; In August this year, cases of mumps hit their highest level in a decade. Between April and June alone, 2,028 cases of mumps were reported. Over the same time period, 301 cases of measles were confirmed - 266 of those cases were detected in unvaccinated children aged 15 or older. It has been suggested that anti-vaccination rhetoric was a major cause behind the drastic increase, prompting public health officials to double down on misinformation and arm citizens with medically viable and accurate advice.



 

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens, for example, condemned anti-vaxxers once the figures were released. He stated, "[Vaccinations] remain the best chance we have of protecting our children from potentially deadly illnesses. These stark rises in mumps and measles cases show that complacency about vaccines is misplaced and dangerous." Newly-nominated Prime Minister Boris Johnson, too, urged parents to "please get your kids vaccinated," regretting the widespread "mumbo-jumbo" about vaccinations that have proliferated the internet and other sources. At present, only 87.2% of all five-year-olds in England have received both doses of MMR as per an article in the British Medical Journal. This is well below the World Health Organization's recommendation of 95%. It can only be hoped that cabinet ministers will heed the senior GPs' recommendations and follow through with a mandatory vaccination policy.



 

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