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BMA: Measles vaccine rates ‘incredibly concerning’


BMA: Measles vaccine rates ‘incredibly concerning’

The British Medical Association (BMA) has described official figures revealing that significant numbers of children in the UK missed out on the measles vaccine as “incredibly concerning.”

More than half a million children did not receive their first dose of the vaccine between 2010 and 2017 according to Unicef. The figures also revealed that 169 million children globally did not get the vaccine.

“Immunisation against infectious diseases like measles are vital in preventing needless suffering and the deaths of children, as well as protecting public health,” said BMA board of science chair professor Dame Parveen Kumar.

“There is clear evidence that improved vaccine uptake decreases the number of cases of disease, which both protects thousands of children from harm and reduces pressure on the health service.

“These figures from Unicef are therefore incredibly concerning, as even small drops in vaccine uptake can have a disastrous effect, substantially increasing the risk of harmful disease outbreaks.”

Professor Kumar added: “Crucially, to increase vaccine rates, there must be easy access to facilities for all parts of the population to receive protection. For this to happen there needs to be sufficient funding to deliver fully-resourced services, be that in general practice, the community or through local authorities.

“There is a voluntary system for childhood vaccination system in the UK. Parents and carers need support to make informed choices, but if misinformation, be this via targeted campaigns or through inaccurate reporting, is a deterrent this must be stopped. We need vastly improved awareness campaigns, publicising the benefits of vaccination and working towards removing apathy and indecision. 

“Great progress has been made towards eradicating diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella over the last century, and we cannot let disturbing trends put our children at risk or push back the clock on conditions which belong firmly in the past.”  




Picture: South_agency (iStock)

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