The British Immunization Authority has recommended that British parents vaccinate their young children against measles, mumps and rubella by November, or face a fine.
The move is in line with a new European Union plan that requires all members states to establish vaccination programmes for children aged two and under. The plan aims to prevent the spread of the virus across the EU.
In England, a separate law requires all children aged six months to be vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella. A new recommendation published by the BIA will affect only those younger than two who are not yet eligible for the National Immunisation Programme.
The authority says the recommendation relates to the routine childhood immunisation for MMR [measles, mumps and rubella]. The recommendation also implies that parents who want to raise their children under immunisation will be required to do so.
But it doesn’t apply to children who are already on the programme, such as school-aged children.
Parents can seek an exemption from vaccination on the basis of religious beliefs. In 2016, there were almost 4,000 such exemptions granted in England, resulting in about 70 cases of measles – a highly contagious illness with a very high mortality rate – being reported.
It is the most common cause of acute infection in children.