About half a million children could be banned from school if they haven’t had the measles jab, the health secretary warned.
Matt Hancock said he is worried about vaccination scare stories that continue to spread on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms.
He also revealed he will meet social media companies to demand they “do more to take down” lies on their websites.
Health chiefs have warned the misleading posts put mothers and fathers off giving their kids the potentially lifesaving injection.
It was in 1998 when Dr. Andrew Wakefield claimed there was a link between mumps, measles and rubella and autism.
But his research has been discredited and he has been struck off in the country. More studies have found no link but some people continue to spread lies and fake stories.
After Unicef revealed over half a million children have not had their MMB jab, Hancock issued the warning.
Cases of life-threatening measles virus have increased in an alarming rate over the past year. Unicef said more children are left unprotected against it and revealed “fear or skepticism about vaccines” is the reason behind some of the fall.
“I’m not relaxed about this at all,” Mr. Hancock told the BBC.
“One of the things I am particularly worried about is the spread of anti-vaccination messages online. I have called in the social media companies, like we had to with self-harming images a few months ago.
“I’m seeing them on Monday to require that they do more to take down lies that are promoted on social media about the impact of vaccination.
“Vaccination is safe, it’s very, very important for the public health – for everybody’s health – and we’re going to tackle it.”
NHS boss Simon Stevens has also warned of a ‘public health timebomb.” He called on social media companies to adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to fake stories.
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