Parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated against measles are contributing to ‘a public health time bomb’ NHS England’s Chief Executive has warned. Simon Stevens issued his warning as Unicef released figures claiming that half a million children in the UK missed out on the measles jab between 2010 -2017. It placed the UK as the third worst high-income country for compliance behind France (an estimated 600,000 unvaccinated children) and the USA (2.6 million).
‘Getting yourself and your children vaccinated against killer diseases is essential to staying healthy, and vaccine rejection is a serious and growing public health timebomb,’ Stevens said.
Stevens also launched a broadside against the anti-vaxxer movement which has gained traction on social media in the last few years. ‘With measles cases almost quadrupling in England in just one year, it is grossly irresponsible for anybody to spread scare stories about vaccines, and social media firms should have a zero tolerance approach towards this dangerous content.’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that he intends to meet with social media companies next week 'require that they do more to take down lies that are promoted on social media about the impact of vaccinations'.
Hancock has also said he ‘wouldn’t rule out’ taking a tougher French-style approach, and making vaccinations mandatory. Children in France are no longer allowed to join state-run schools and nurseries if they haven’t had all their jabs.