Labour MP says anti-vaxxers 'should be banned from sending children to nursery'

George Martin
·2 min read
Labour Co-operative Barry Sheerman speaks in the House of Commons, London, as MPs gather to pay tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox.
Labour MP Barry Sheerman said parents should have to produce a certificate for their children. (PA)

Parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated against measles should be banned from sending them to nursery, a Labour MP has said.

Barry Sheerman, the MP for Huddersfield, believes parents should have to produce a certificate showing their child has received the MMR jab.

It comes after the UK lost its measles-free status last August amid a rising number of cases at home.

The total number of laboratory-confirmed measles cases in England in 2018 was 971, more than three times the 259 cases in 2017.

MMR vaccine holding in hand with injection syringe at the background
The UK lost its measles-free status last August. (Getty)

During health questions, Mr Sheerman asked Tory health minister Jo Churchill to make the jabs mandatory.

“Of course, all of our thoughts are on the Covid-19 outbreak at the moment but is she aware that last year 140,000 people, mainly children and young people, died from measles (worldwide)?” Mr Sheerman asked.

Read more: Half A Million UK Children Are Not Vaccinated Against Measles

“And the measles epidemic is going to come here as the rate of protection for getting MMR vaccine decreases.

“This is a real issue. Could she join my campaign to make sure every child who goes into early pre-school and early schools has a certificate that says they have had the MMR?”

In response, Ms Churchill said: “I would love to meet with the gentleman and talk about his campaign because actually the Government is looking at any way that we can improve vaccination rates.

“Vaccinations work by protecting the herd and actually losing the WHO (World Health Organisation) status on measles last year was very sad.

“And it is something that we should all be mindful of and make sure we all look to helping people access MMR vaccines for their children.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock could be seen giving Mr Sheerman a thumbs up after he finished his remarks in the Commons.