October 15, 2019
Health

Hancock wrong on compulsory child vaccinations – top doctor

The health secretary is wrong to think compulsory child vaccination will help tackle falling immunisation rates in England, a leading doctor says.

Matt Hancock has said he is "looking very seriously" at the option.

But Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health expert Dr David Elliman said it could be counter-productive and make people more suspicious.

He joined others in calling for vaccines to be offered in places such as supermarkets and music festivals.

Figures released last month showed vaccination rates for all nine vaccines given to children before the age of five fell in the last year in England – figures for the rest of the UK nations are better.

The UK lost its measles-free status in August amid a rising number of cases.

During 2018 there were nearly 1,000 cases – more than double the number in 2016.

Speaking at the Science Media Centre in London, Dr Elliman, a consultant in community child health at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said he found Mr Hancock's view on compulsory vaccination "concerning" and "not evidence-based".

"Compulsory vaccination ain't going to work and isn't going to get the support of most health professionals."

He said it risked breaking the trust that exists between health professionals and the public and creating a row about civil liberties.

He also pointed out that it would do nothing to encourage those who have already missed vaccinations to take part in catch-up programmes, citing the need to reach out to people in their 20s who did not have the MMR vaccine at the height of the scare two decades ago.

Instead, he wants the government, which is drawing up a new vaccinations strategy, to focus on accessibility, saying he would like to see pop-up clinics being helRead More – Source

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