Labour plans to ban children from school unless they have an MMR jab
By REBECCA CAMBER
Children could be banned from school if they have not had the MMR jab.
Under Labour plans, primary schools will have to demand proof from parents that their children have had the triple vaccine before they are allowed to register.
The proposal, drawn up by the MP in charge of the party’s health manifesto for the next election, has outraged doctors’ leaders, who call it “Stalinist” and counterproductive.
If approved, it could see almost 100,000 children barred each year from schools in England and Wales based on current vaccination rates.
Last night the Tories accused Labour of playing politics with children’s lives, warning that such “authoritarianism” would alienate parents.
Under the scheme suggested by Mary Creagh, the head of Labour’s manifesto group on public health, parents would have to provide a certificate to prove that their children had the full range of jabs against measles, mumps and rubella.
Children under two would also be vaccinated each year against flu and have additional jabs to protect against chicken pox and winter vomiting virus.
Schools currently do not have to ask parents if their child has had the MMR jab and it is up to school nurses to check records.
But under the plans, parents would have to declare what jabs their toddler had had.
Children who had missed vaccinations would be forced to attend a “catch-up” session before schools starts.
Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children could face penalties.
In the U.S. parents are threatened with jail if their offspring are not immunised.
Mrs Creagh will outline her plans this week in the Fabian Review, the quarterly magazine of left-wing think-tank the Fabian Society.
In the magazine, the MP for Wakefield said: “We have vaccination rates as low as 11 per cent in parts of London and cases of measles, mumps and rubella are rising sharply.
“Labour should imitate the successful-U.S. model to ensure no low income child was unvaccinated.
“There, children can only start school after proof of vaccination has been supplied by parents - except on religious and medical grounds.”
There has been a sharp decline in the take-up of the triple vaccine because of fears that it could be linked to autism.
Some parents have turned to expensive private clinics and had the jabs done separaretly.
In such cases parents could have to provide the separate vaccination certificates.
Mrs Creagh suggests expanding the NHS programme which already immunises toddlers against MMR, diphtheria, whoopping cough, tetanus, polio, meningitis and pneumonia.
Chairman of the British Medical Association, Dr Hamish Meldrum claims forcing parents to have their children inoculated is “morally and ethically dubious”.
He said a “Stalinist approach” would backfire.
It is understood that the idea has not yet been discussed with the Prime Minister and last night Labour insisted it had no plans for compulsory vaccination.