The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has spoken out against anti-vaxxers.
Hancock described anti-vaccination campaigners as having ‘blood on their hands’, adding he won’t rule out making immunisations compulsory in Britain.
If this becomes the case, children may be banned from school unless they have their jabs.
In an interview with The Times, Hancock stated the vaccination rate for measles in Britain is 91 per cent, which is below the 95 per cent required to protect those who cannot be immunised.
These people are either too young or have conditions which don’t allow them to have the jabs, for example cancer.
Describing the situation as one which needs to be addressed urgently, Hancock said:
The evidence is really clear that vaccination is good for you and your children and, critically, protects people who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons who otherwise will have their lives put at risk.
Those who have promoted the anti-vaccination myth are morally reprehensible, deeply irresponsible and have blood on their hands.
I wouldn’t rule anything out. I’m completely open to all options of how we deliver this.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on the same day (May 4), Hancock expanded on his points.
He emphasised anti-vaxxers are putting other children at risk, not just their own, so although he doesn’t want to make immunisation compulsory, he understands a solution needs to be found.
I do think we need to consider all options. Failure to vaccinate when there isn’t a good reason is wrong. Those people who campaign against vaccination are campaigning against science. The science is settled.
I don’t want to have to reach the point of compulsory vaccination, but I will rule nothing out. I don’t want to reach that point and I don’t think we are near there, but there is a huge programme of work to increase the proportion of children that are vaccinated.
If you don’t vaccinate your children, it is not only your child that is at risk, it is also other children, including children who for medical reasons can’t be vaccinated. Vaccination is good for you, good for your child, good for your neighbour and your community.
The minister’s comments come after research conducted by Unicef revealed more than half a million children in the UK were unvaccinated against measles between 2010 and 2017.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.