Should vaccinations be compulsory?

With measles infections on the rise in the UK, should vaccinations be made compulsory?
With measles infections on the rise in the UK, should vaccinations be made compulsory?

Measles is an ‘entirely preventable’ disease, says the UN – and for a while the UK and other developed countries had prevented it. 

But during the first three months of this year, the World Health Organisation reported 112,000 cases of measles.  Over the same time last year it was 28,000

In the UK we once again have outbreaks of measles and a falling vaccination rate.  

David Aaronovitch asks how much this matters and whether, as the Health Secretary has said recently, we should rule nothing out, even including compulsory vaccination.


Gareth Williams, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Bristol and author of Angel of Death: The Story of Smallpox

Professor Heidi Larson, director of The Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Hugh Whittall, director of The Nuffield Council on Bioethics 

Dr Stephen John, Hatton Lecturer in the Philosophy of Public Health at the University of Cambridge

Producers: Richard Fenton-Smith & Serena Tarling
Researcher: Kirsteen Knight
Editor: Jasper Corbett

Almost a third of children need MMR booster

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

A baby catches measles from somebody who did not have the vaccine
Getty Images

Nearly a third of children in Kent need their measles vaccination booster, figures show.

The World Health Organisation states 95% need to be vaccinated with the MMR jab to ensure the highly infectious disease does not spread.

Director for Public Health in Kent, Andrew Scott-Clark, said uptake of these vaccinations is “critical” to protect vulnerable people.

He noted people expressed concerns about the jab on social media.

However, claims the MMR vaccine causes autism have been disproved and the doctor who made the conclusions also struck off.

The vaccine has been proven not to cause autism
Getty Images

There have been three confirmed cases of measles since January, which were all linked to travel.

Consultant in health protection at Public Health England South East, Dr Claire Winslade, urged parents to check the immunity of their family - especially before going on holiday.

“Children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine for maximum protection," she added.

MPs discuss the importance of global vaccination

MPs debate World Immunisation Week.
Barely18 hours after he was appointed International Development Secretary -- in the mini-reshuffle following the sacking of Gavin Williamson -- Rory Stewart was in the Commons, talking about a key part of his new brief: international vaccination. 

He told MPs protecting people from preventable diseases was a story of global cooperation, as Mandy Baker reports.

There's more from Today in Parliament on BBC Radio 4 at 11.30pm.