Doctors reject calls for enforced pre-school immunisation

DOCTORS have rejected calls for UK children to be fully immunised before they are allowed to start school.

The British Medical Association conference in Brighton heard that cases of measles had increased since uptake of the measles mumps and rubella jab (MMR) had fallen.

But doctors decided forcing parents to have their children vaccinated before starting school was not ethical or practical.

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Dr Surendra Kumar, from the BMA's GPs committee, said measles had almost been eradicated until the publication of research, now discredited, linking the MMR vaccine to autism. He added: "As a result we have now started seeing children suffering and dying from measles.

"Let us send a clear message, that in a country like the UK we will not let our children suffer and we will not let our children be a source of risk of infection to others... we should not allow them to start schooling before they have been immunised."

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Other doctors expressed concern about passing the motion.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA, said: "I want to make clear that we support immunisation but we are not in support of this means of compulsion for a whole lot of practical and ethical reasons. If it were ever to happen here we would have numerous opt-outs and it would be highly problematic."