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Avoid forced child vaccinations by boosting nurse numbers, RCN says

Increasing the number of nurses could help avoid the need for mandatory MMR vaccinations for children, RCN says

Increasing the number of nurses could help avoid the need for mandatory MMR vaccinations for children, RCN says

Picture shows a nurse giving a pre-school booster and MMR second dose immunisation to a small girl. Increasing the number of nurses could help avoid the need for mandatory MMR vaccinations for children, the RCN says.
Picture: Alamy

Boosting the number of nurses is the key to avoiding mandatory vaccinations for children, an RCN official said.

The comment came as experts discussed mandatory vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) at a Science Media Centre briefing.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last month he was worried about falling vaccination rates and the government was considering making vaccinations compulsory for children in England. His comment came after the World Health Organization removed the UK’s measles-free status.

RCN professional lead for public health nursing Helen Donovan said in the briefing that mandatory vaccinations would be unnecessary if the number of nurses was increased and they were given immunisation training.

Ms Donovan was among several experts saying they oppose mandatory MMR vaccinations as similar policies have had an adverse effect on vaccination uptake in other European countries.

Experts said the downturn in MMR vaccinations was not solely linked to campaigns against vaccination but a combination of factors, including families being unable to find time to attend appointments.

Ms Donovan said the best way for nurses to communicate with parents was to ‘call, recall and text families if it’s known the children are missing a vaccination’.   

University College London professor of children’s health Helen Bedford said access to the MMR vaccination could be improved if places such as supermarkets held pop-up clinics.


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