News that a public health expert is recommending children be banned from school unless they've had the MMR jab is set to spark massive debate amongst parents tired of being fed confusing information about their babies' health and fed up with a Nanny State approach from Government departments attempting to control their parenting style.
The report, breaking across news sources this morning, has been sparked by the former chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), Sir Sandy Macara, who wants the MMR jab, a guard against measles, mumps and rubella, to be made compulsory. He has submitted a motion for debate to the BMA's annual conference later this month suggesting that children should not be allowed to go to state schools unless they can prove they have had the MMR vaccine.
The MMR jab has been the subject of great controversy in recent years following the publication of a report linking it to autism, which has since been shown to be unreliable. The report caused considerable fear amongst parents and the number of children immunised dropped dramatically.The vaccine comes in two parts, the first dose at 13 months of age and the second at around three years and four months of age. But one in four children under five have now not had both parts, and this has been blamed for measles outbreaks across the country. Experts from the Health Protection Agency now fear an epidemic is likely.
Quoted in a BBC report today, Sir Sandy Macara says: "Our attempts to persuade people [to immunise their children] have failed. The suggestion is that we ought to consider making a link which in effect would make it compulsory for children to be immunised if they are to receive the benefit of a free education from the state."
Apparently, it is already commonplace in some countries for immunisation to be linked to school admission. It is in place in the US, most of Australia, Greece and Spain.
The issue is expected to generate strong opinions from parents. Responses are likely to be mixed, ranging from those who think other parents should be held accountable for not immunising their child, leaving that child and other children in its environment at risk, to outrage that the decision to immunise is wrongly being removed from parents via the threat of withdrawing their child's education.
What do you think? Should children be banned from school if they haven't had the MMR jab? Did you immunise your child? If you didn't immunise your child, how would you feel if they were banned from school? How would you respond?