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UK should make MMR vaccination mandatory, say Italian researchers

New research has strongly recommended that the UK adopt a ‘no jab, no school policy’ on MMR

New research has strongly recommended that the UK adopt a ‘no jab, no school policy’ on MMR. The researchers, from Italy which introduced mandatory vaccination before primary school in 2017, modelled the likely effects of current immunisation policies in seven countries between 2018 and 2050. They believe that while high coverage in Singapore and South Korea is likely to continue, but rates in the UK, Ireland, Italy, the US and Australia might drop to a point with measles outbreaks could happen.

‘Current vaccination policies are not sufficient to achieve and maintain measles elimination in most countries,’ the researchers concluded.

Dr Stefano Merler, one of the lead authors of the study published in the journal BMC Medicine, said: ‘Our results suggest that most of the countries we have studied would strongly benefit from the introduction of compulsory vaccination at school entry.”

“In particular we found that this strategy would allow the UK, Ireland and the US to reach stable herd immunity levels in the next decades, which means that a significantly high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease to prevent future outbreaks.”

But some UK experts have hit back at the paper’s findings. Dr David Elliman of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said proponents of a ‘no jab, no school’ policy ‘lack evidence’ for the UK. Pointing out that ‘only 1-2% of UK parents refuse all immunisations’, Dr Elliman said: ‘Introducing compulsory vaccination in this country might reduce the very high levels of trust that people have in the NHS and prove counterproductive. It could even result in lower levels of vaccination.’

Last month figures revealed that half a million children in the UK missed out on the MMR jab between 2010-2017, figures that prompted Health Secretary Matt Hancock so say he ‘wouldn’t rule out’ making MMR vaccination mandatory.