'The UK should consider a “no jab, no school” policy for all small children, researchers have said after finding that current immunisation rates will not keep measles outbreaks at bay.
The research comes from Italy, which brought in mandatory vaccination before primary school in 2017 because of low immunisation rates and measles outbreaks. France did the same in 2018. Populist politicians have opposed mandatory vaccination, saying parents should have freedom to choose.
In the UK there is increasing concern about low vaccination rates in some communities. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has said all options should be considered and did not rule out compulsory vaccination.
Researchers at the Bruno Kessler Foundation in Trentino and Bocconi University in Milan modelled the effects of current immunisation policies on vaccination rates in seven countries between 2018 and 2050.
In their paper, published in the journal BMC Medicine, they say high vaccine coverage in Singapore and South Korea is likely to continue, but rates in Australia, Ireland, Italy, the UK and the US could drop to levels where measles outbreaks will happen. Coverage needs to be 95% to prevent outbreaks.
Dr Stefano Merler, one of the authors of the study, said: “Our results suggest that most of the countries we have studied would strongly benefit from the introduction of compulsory vaccination at school entry in addition to current immunisation programmes.'
Read more: UK should consider 'no jab, no school' policy, Italian study says