Wednesday, Sept 24, 2008
British Labour MP Mary Creagh has proposed forbidding school enrollment to children who have not received the full course of childhood vaccines, turning the current recommendations compulsory.
Writing in the magazine of the Fabian Society, Creagh said that the United Kingdom should use the same sanctions as the United States to make vaccines compulsory, and that schools should be required to verify that all children enrolled have been vaccinated.
In the same issue, public health expert Sir Sandy Macara said that children should not be allowed to receive health benefits unless they are vaccinated.
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Vaccination rates have dropped in the United Kingdom recently, after research emerged suggesting that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) might be linked to autism. While below the government’s target level of 95 percent, 85 percent of children still receive the MMR vaccine.
Both Creagh and Macara said that compulsory vaccination would serve the public good, pushing the United Kingdom toward the 95 percent vaccinated threshold at which incidence of a virus drops so low that the general population acquires a “herd immunity.”
The chair of the British Medical Association, Dr. Hamish Meldrum, blasted the plan as “morally and ethically dubious.”
“A Stalinist approach like this would be likely to backfire on an unprecedented scale and increase opposition to vaccinations,” he said.
“It’s only six months since a big public consultation by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics which we contributed to and they concluded there was no reason to change the voluntary system,” said Jackie Fletcher of the organization Jabs.
“At the same time as this was published in the UK, there was a huge furor in the United States as parents were threatened with hefty fines and jail unless they vaccinated their children before entry into school,” she said. “Is this really the direction we want to go in?”
The government responded to Creagh and Macara’s articles by saying that it has no plans to make vaccination compulsory.
This article was posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 10:37 am