The MMR jab is the only protection against the disease but myths and discredited research spread on social media have misled some parents into not getting their kids vaccinated.
Could you child be BANNED from school if they don’t have Measles jab?
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has not ruled out banning unvaccinated children from schools after NHS bosses urged drastic action to protect British kids from measles.
Speaking on Talk radio Mr Hancock blamed inaccurate social media posts for the dip in MMR vaccines and said he ‘wouldn’t rule anything out’ when questioned on the matter.
Mr Hancock said: “I’m very very worried about this.
“It’s a responsibility on everybody to get vaccinated. It’s good for you and your family, but it’s also good for your neighbour.”
In the UK in 2017, there were 259 measles cases in England, rising to 966 in 2018.
If England and Wales were to ban children from schools it could echo French policies where pupils aren’t allowed into state schools or nurseries unless they have all their vaccinations.
Quizzed by Julia Hartley-Brewer as to whether Britain would follow France’s example, Mr Hancock suggested it was a possibility.
He said: “I wouldn’t rule out anything but I don’t think we’re there yet.
“In America they tried to do this and the courts stopped them so it can be complicated, but really it’s people’s responsibility as a parent to do the right thing – the right thing for their own children as well as, of course, the right of the community that everybody lives in.”
Between 2010 and 2017, some 2,593,000 youngsters in the USA did not have their first dose of the vaccine.
The second most affected country was France, with 608,000 unvaccinated children over the same time period, followed by the UK, with 527,000.
The alarming figures also prompted NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens to speak out.
He said: “Getting yourself and your children vaccinated against killer diseases is essential to staying healthy, and vaccine rejection is a serious and growing public health timebomb.
“With measles cases almost quadrupling in England in just one year, it is grossly irresponsible for anybody to spread scare stories about vaccines, and social media firms should have a zero-tolerance approach towards this dangerous content.”
What is measles?
Measles is a highly infectious bug which can spread rapidly among people who haven’t been vaccinated.
Most of the recent measles cases in the UK affected unvaccinated children.
Measles spreads very easily and can cause serious health complications, which is why health organisations are urging people to get vaccinated.