Failing to give your child the MMR jab should be against the law, according to one leading doctor.
Dr Eleanor Draeger has written an article in the British Medical Journal calling for children to be banned from school if they haven't been vaccinated against measles.
“We would argue that the UK now needs to legislate to increase vaccination rates, as current measures aren’t keeping rates high enough,” she writes.
Measles on the rise in the UK
Dr Draeger made the claims amid rising cases of the disease among children in the UK, as parents avoid the vaccine after being put off by scare stories on social media.
“Many parents wrongly believe the rhetoric that vaccines are harmful, unnatural and an infringement of civil liberties,” she writes.
The number of measles cases quadrupled from 259 in 2017 to 966 in 2018, and another 231 were diagnosed in England in the first three months of this year.
Meanwhile, vaccination rates dropped to 87.2%, which is not high enough to guarantee widespread immunity.
Other countries have enforced the MMR jab
Dr Draeger’s calls to make the jab compulsory come after other Eurpoean countries enforced it by law.
Parents must ensure that their children are immunised with the MMR vaccine in nine European countries, including Italy and France. Other countries around the world, including Australia, have done the same.
This enforcement has led to thousands more children being vaccinated against the diseases.
However, some doctors argue that making the vaccination compulsory would do more to further turn parents against it.
Dr David Elliman, of London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, told the BMJ that the UK should be focused on making it easier for children to be vaccinated.
He said that measures like having vaccination sessions at family-friendly times and offering the jab in A and E departments should be put into place first before mandatory vaccination is considered.
The MMR jab is free for adults and children on the NHS.
It's important to have two doses to have full cover against measles, mumps and rubella. The jabs can be given a month apart.