MMR jab should be compulsory3rd June 2009
A leading public health expert is calling for the MMR jab to be made compulsory amid fears of a measles epidemic.
Sir Sandy Macara, a former chairman of the British Medical Association, says children should not be allowed to go to school until they have been vaccinated.
His plan has been submitted as a motion for debate at the annual BMA conference later this month.
Latest figures show that up to a quarter of children under five in England and Wales have not had both MMR injections, which are needed to give full protection against measles, mumps and rubella.
In recent months there have been a number of measles outbreaks and the Health Protection Agency is now concerned there will be an epidemic.
Sir Sandy said: "The suggestion is that we ought to consider making a link which in effect would make it compulsory for children to be immunised if they are to receive the benefit of a free education from the state."
While controversial, linking vaccinations to school admission is common in countries such as America, Australia, Spain and Greece.
The strategic health authority in London, where immunisation rates are low, is reported to have asked the government if it could introduce compulsory vaccinations.
Uptake of the MMR vaccine fell sharply after controversial research wrongly linked it to a raised risk of autism.
Professor Adam Finn, a vaccine expert in Bristol, said although he sympathised with Sir Sandy's concerns about the possibility of a measles epidemic, he believed compulsory vaccination would be counter-productive.
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Title: MMR jab should be compulsory
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 11617
Date Added: 3rd Jun 2009