New figures show 90,000 five-year-olds will start school this year without having measles jabs

Around one in seven five-year-olds will start school this year without being vaccinated for measles, new figures show. 

Public Health England estimates that more than 90,000 five-year-olds may still need to receive their second MMR jab. 

It comes after Boris Johnson begged parents not to listen to ‘superstitious mumbo jumbo’ about the supposed risks of vaccines spread online.

The Prime Minister made the plea to parents amid a surge in measles cases during a visit to a hospital in Cornwall.

Britain was declared ‘measles free’ by the World Health Organisation in 2016 after a 36-month period with no ‘endemic’ transmission. 

Not having the MMR jab leaves children at a significantly higher risk of measles, mumps and rubella compared to pupils who are fully vaccinated when starting school.    

Health minister Jo Churchill has accused social media giants of failing to crack down on anti-vaxxers

Health minister Jo Churchill has accused social media giants of failing to crack down on anti-vaxxers

Health minister Jo Churchill has accused social media giants of failing to crack down on anti-vaxxers

One in seven five-year-olds in England may not have had all their routine jabs, Public Health England revealed today. In London, the figure rises to around one in four children

One in seven five-year-olds in England may not have had all their routine jabs, Public Health England revealed today. In London, the figure rises to around one in four children

One in seven five-year-olds in England may not have had all their routine jabs, Public Health England revealed today. In London, the figure rises to around one in four children

Social media giants have aso been accused of failing to crack down on anti-vaxxers by health minister Jo Churchill, who said more action is needed.  

Ms Churchill said more action needs to be taken to fight ‘misinformation’ about the safety of vaccines. 

All parents have been urged to check their child’s immunisation records – especially those whose children are about to start school.   

The warning from PHE follows a spike in measles cases, with 231 cases confirmed in the first quarter of this year alone. 

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. 

The first dose is usually given to infants at around one years old. A second dose is given before school, at which point the person is fully protected for life. 

The number of Britons vaccinating themselves or their children has steadily declined in recent years. 

Ms Churchill, minister for prevention, public health and primary care, said the Government will work alongside social media companies to make sure people have access to enough information to ‘help keep their children safe’.

She said immunisation is important in fighting diseases like measles, warning more needs to be done to make sure parents have their children vaccinated.

BORIS VOWS TO TACKLE ANTI-VAXXERS

The Prime Minister pledged a ‘decisive’ response to make Britain free of measles again, which includes tackling the spread of misinformation by the ‘antivaxx’ movement.

Politicians are alarmed about ‘creeping cynicism’ surrounding the safety of vaccinations partly driven by the antivaxx movement.

Mr Johnson said on August 18th: ‘After a period of progress where we were once able to declare Britain measles free, we’ve now seen hundreds of cases of measles in the UK this year. One case of this horrible disease is too many and I am determined to step up our efforts to tackle its spread.

‘This is a global challenge and there’s a number of reasons why people don’t get themselves or their children the vaccines they need, but we need decisive action across our health service and society to make sure communities are properly immunised.’

The Prime Minister is due to visit a hospital in south-west England today where he will outline the measures designed to improve vaccination rates.

These include taking on the antivaxx movement by creating a new NHS website setting out evidence on vaccine safety.

He will also summon social media companies to a summit to discuss how they can stop the spread of misinformation online.

GPs will be ordered to promote ‘catch-up’ vaccination programmes for under-25s who have missed one or more MMR jabs.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Churchill said: ‘There has been a spike, we’ve had more than 230 cases of measles in the UK during the first quarter of this year, so we will be strengthening the role of the local immunisation coordinators and making sure that parents have all the information that they need.’

She said the NHS and the Government need to work with social media companies so that ‘misinformation is also taken down’.

Ms Churchill added: ‘I actually think we can go a little harder and make sure they work with us.’

She said: ‘We know that vaccinations are an incredibly good way of protecting large numbers of the population.

‘And the side effects of somebody that contracts measles are awful, and it also affects other groups with low immune systems, so people suffering from leukaemia for example.’

Figures released by PHE today estimate that more than 30,000 five-year-olds in England – around one in 19 – may still need to receive their first dose of MMR. 

Around 90,000 in England may still need to get their second dose of MMR – almost 30,000 of these children are in London.

Not having the MMR jab leaves children at a significantly higher risk of measles, mumps and rubella compared to pupils who are fully vaccinated when starting school. 

Around 100,000 – one in eight – five-year-olds across England may still need their four-in-one pre-school booster that protects against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio.  

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE, said: ‘It’s a real concern that so many young children – as many as a quarter of a reception class in some areas – could be starting school without the full protection that the NHS childhood immunisation programme offers for free.  

‘We’re particularly concerned about children being at greater risk of measles.

The number of Britons vaccinating their children has steadily declined in recent years, and social media giants have come under fire for not controlling the spread of misinformation

The number of Britons vaccinating their children has steadily declined in recent years, and social media giants have come under fire for not controlling the spread of misinformation

The number of Britons vaccinating their children has steadily declined in recent years, and social media giants have come under fire for not controlling the spread of misinformation

‘We’re continuing to see outbreaks of the disease occurring in communities across the country, many linked to visiting European countries over the summer holidays. 

‘It’s crucial that children have maximum protection as they begin to mix with other children at the start of their school journey.’ 

WHAT IS MEASLES AND WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? 

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads easily from an infected person by coughing, sneezing or even just breathing.

Symptoms develop between six and 19 days after infection, and include a runny nose, cough, sore eyes, a fever and a rash.

The rash appears as red and blotchy marks on the hairline that travel down over several days, turning brown and eventually fading.

Some children complain of disliking bright lights or develop white spots with red backgrounds on their tongue.

In one in 15 cases, measles can cause life-threatening complications including pneumonia, convulsions and encephalitis.

Dr Ava Easton, chief executive of the Encephalitis Society told MailOnline: ‘Measles can be very serious.

‘[It] can cause encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain.

‘Encephalitis can result in death or disability.’

Treatment focuses on staying hydrated, resting and taking painkillers, if necessary.

Measles can be prevented by receiving two vaccinations, the first at 13 months old and the second at three years and four months to five years old.

Source: Great Ormond Street Hospital

Britain was declared ‘measles free’ by the World Health Organisation in 2016 after a 36-month period with no ‘endemic’ transmission – meaning the only outbreaks in that time had started abroad and were then passed on.

Since 2016, however, uptake of the MMR jab has fallen each year and the WHO has revoked the country’s measles-free status.

Last night, Boris Johnson pledged a ‘decisive’ response to tackling the spread of misinformation by the ‘antivaxx’ movement to bring back Britain’s ‘measles-free’ status.

The Prime Minister plans to call a summit with social media companies to discuss how they can stop myths, scare stories and conspiracy theories about vaccines spreading online.

Companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have recently been called on to monitor claims vaccines don’t work in the same way they do violent or threatening messages.

One leading myth about the MMR vaccine is based on research done by the disgraced Andrew Wakefield in the 1990s, which claimed the MMR jab led to autism.

His results were later found to be fake, and the work was called ‘fatally flawed’, ‘fraudulent’ and ‘dishonest’ by experts in the field.

Others claim the vaccine doesn’t work – but after the introduction of MMR rates of measles had dropped, from 86,001 cases in 1988 to just 3,728 reported a decade later.

The figure has fluctuated since, believed to be partly due to the Wakefield scare in the mid-90s.  

Cases of measles have soared by 300 per cent worldwide in the last year, with the WHO warning recently that efforts to halt the spread of measles were ‘backsliding’. 

A lack of access to the vaccine is often the problem in poorer countries.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, which can be prevented, that can cause complications including blindness and brain swelling and increase susceptibility to other diseases. 

Ms Churchill said the Government is working to make sure there are no shortages of drugs, including measles vaccines, following Brexit.

She said: ‘On the measles vaccine, there are buffer stocks in place and I don’t see any issue with supply.’

To check that your child has received all their vaccines on schedule, click here and refer to your child’s Red Book. If in any doubt, contact your GP practice. 

IS ANDREW WAKEFIELD’S DISCREDITED AUTISM RESEARCH TO BLAME FOR LOW MEASLES VACCINATION RATES?

Andrew Wakefield's discredited autism research has long been blamed for a drop in measles vaccination rates

Andrew Wakefield's discredited autism research has long been blamed for a drop in measles vaccination rates

Andrew Wakefield’s discredited autism research has long been blamed for a drop in measles vaccination rates

In 1995, gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet showing children who had been vaccinated against MMR were more likely to have bowel disease and autism.

He speculated that being injected with a ‘dead’ form of the measles virus via vaccination causes disruption to intestinal tissue, leading to both of the disorders.

After a 1998 paper further confirmed this finding, Wakefield said: ‘The risk of this particular syndrome [what Wakefield termed ‘autistic enterocolitis’] developing is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, rather than the single vaccines.’

At the time, Wakefield had a patent for single measles, mumps and rubella vaccines, and was therefore accused of having a conflict of interest.

Nonetheless, MMR vaccination rates in the US and the UK plummeted, until, in 2004, the editor of The Lancet Dr Richard Horton described Wakefield’s research as ‘fundamentally flawed’, adding he was paid by a group pursuing lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers.

The Lancet formally retracted Wakefield’s research paper in 2010.

Three months later, the General Medical Council banned Wakefield from practising medicine in Britain, stating his research had shown a ‘callous disregard’ for children’s health.

On January 6 2011, The British Medical Journal published a report showing that of the 12 children included in Wakefield’s 1995 study, at most two had autistic symptoms post vaccination, rather than the eight he claimed.

At least two of the children also had developmental delays before they were vaccinated, yet Wakefield’s paper claimed they were all ‘previously normal’.

Further findings revealed none of the children had autism, non-specific colitis or symptoms within days of receiving the MMR vaccine, yet the study claimed six of the participants suffered all three.

Link hienalouca.com

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