Britain has lost its World Health Organization (WHO) status as a ‘measles free’ country with 231 confirmed cases during the first quarter of 2019.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on a visit to the West Country this week, called on health leaders to renew their efforts to ensure that 95% of the British people are vaccinated and regain the WHO status. Britain’s ‘Herd immunity’ has dropped below 95%; this is a particular worry in Devon with a number of towns and villages dropping well below 95%. In some parts of the county this has dropped as low as 60%.
In one Dartmoor town that figure has dropped as low as 50% in the past, as parents fail to have their children vaccinated with the MMR (Mumps, Measles and Rubella) vaccine. Many doctors are very worried about this big drop in children not being vaccinated. Some doctors would have never seen measles, although they would know the symptoms of the illness.
One Head Teacher at a Mid Devon primary school told The Moorlander recently that she was terrified as this was a ticking time bomb that could go through her school in a flash and could possibly close the school. Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health told The Moorlander recently: “Vaccinations saves lives and dropping vaccine rates must be reversed. Its mission critical that we champion science and objective fact to lead the push back against fake news and this worrying trend.”
This comes after Mr Hancock said the unvaccinated
school children could be banned from school until they were vaccinated. In France and Italy all children have to vaccinated before they can attend school. Mr Hancock also met with social media companies to get them to take down
anti-vaccination posts online.
In 1996 measles was all but eradicated in this country, but after disgraced Dr Andrew Wakefield stated that the MMR vaccine could be linked to autism, which was later disproved, vaccination figures fell dramatically. Dr Wakefield was banned from practice. Dr Wakefield who now lives in the USA had the ear of President Donald Trump who made a statement 2015 about vaccinations suggesting that vaccines were responsible for what he called an ‘epidemic of autism’. President Trump changed his tune in May after a number of measles outbreaks in America and told Americans to ‘get their shots’.
While touring the West Country, Prime Minister Johnson talked about the subject of mandatory vaccination for all school children at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro. At the moment a child should be vaccinated with the MMR vaccine at one year old and again before the start of preschool. School pupils can be vaccinated up until they become teenagers.
At the moment it is believed that 30,000 school children have never been vaccinated with one in seven only having one MMR vaccine. In London the figure drops to one child in four only having one MMR vaccine. Measles is one of the world’s most highly contagious viruses that can sweep though communities in days, with a potential for long term permanent damage from the infection.