Parents in the UK face being fined for not vaccinating their children.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the alarming drop in immunization rates was ‘unacceptable’ and didn’t want to rule out ‘bold action.’
NHS Digital data reveals routine childhood vaccines dropped in the last twelve months.
Ministers are now considering proposals to reverse the decline include mandatory vaccination. This could see unvaccinated kids banned from schools or parents who refused jabs fined.
According to the report, the proportion of children protected against measles, mumps and rubella has decreased for the seventh consecutive year.
Experts fear a mix of social media scare stories and complacency are putting parents off live-saving jabs, which prevents diseases including tenanus, whooping and diphtheria.
“Falling childhood vaccination rates are unacceptable. Everyone has a role to play in halting this decline,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
“The loss of our measles free status is a stark reminder that devastating diseases can, and will, resurface.
“We need to be bold and I will not rule out action so that every child is properly protected.”
Results come one month after the UK lost its Worth Health Organization ‘measles-free’ status.
NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Vaccines are a vital, life-saving part of our country’s public health and the numbers of children not being vaccinated is concerning.
“No one should be complacent about getting their own or their child’s jabs and so the NHS is taking action, with its partners, to combat the decline and to reverse the dangerous effects of complacency about vaccines.”
Experts warned more must be done to fight ‘toxic myths’ about vaccinations on social media.
The chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, said: “Even a small drop in the take-up of vaccinations is very concerning.
“We are aware of the destructive anti-vaccination messages that are circulating online and via social media, and these are perpetuating toxic myths that are not backed by any evidence or false claims that have been completely debunked.
“Parents need to be aware of the clear, evidence-based findings about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.”
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