Should UK Vaccinate Its Children?

According to Medical News Today, two experts discuss in the journal BMJwhether childhood vaccination should be mandatory in the UK. According to Paul Offit, Chief of Infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, mandatory vaccination is essential to protect those who are vulnerable from infection. 

Offit argues that the impact of parents who choose not to vaccinate their children not only affects their own children, it also affects those who come in contact with their children.

Offit says:

“Someday we may live in a world that doesn’t scare patients into making bad health decisions. Until then, vaccine mandates are the best way to ensure protection from illnesses that have caused so much needless suffering and death.”

However, David Salisbury, Director of Immunization at the UK Department of Health, argues that different approaches can be made to ensure high uptake.

He underlines the fact that the peak age for measles in England and Wales was below the age of five years between 1998 and 2010. This means that children would already be infected by the time they would receive their vaccination, if it were made compulsory at school entry.

He also refers to the fact that exemptions for mandatory vaccination for school entry can be as much as 20% in the UK, and the rate continues to increase.

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