Compulsory vaccines for newborns ‘a consideration’ in the UK
The UK’s health authorities are thinking of making vaccinations compulsory – and even given to newborns – following a rise in the number of measles and whooping cough cases.
The vaccine programme usually begins when an infant is four months old, and only when parents give their permission.
But the Department of Health is now considering starting the programme at birth, and possibly even giving vaccinations such as the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) without seeking parental consent first.
This radical change of policy is being considered because of a worrying rise in the number of new case of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) this year. Measles cases have doubled this year – although only 964 cases have been recorded, against 497 for the same period last year – while there have been 3,513 whooping cough cases. And 235 cases have occurred among babies under the age of three months, which is prompting the possible shift to a strategy that includes newborns.
(Source: BBC, September 2, 2012).