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Mandatory vaccination will not eliminate parental opposition, says RCN congress

Speakers argue educating parents and understanding their fears is more effective

Speakers argue educating parents and understanding their fears is more effective


Marie-Therese Massey. Picture: John Houlihan

More time spent educating families – rather than mandatory vaccinations – is needed to help dispel myths about vaccinations, nurses told RCN congress.

Most speakers in an emergency debate on mandatory vaccinations for pre-school children rejected the idea.


Louise Cahill. Picture: John Houlihan

Spending time

Figures published last month by UNICEF showed more than half a million children in the UK who were due to receive their first vaccination against measles between 2010 and 2017 did not receive it.

Marie-Therese Massey, from the general practice nursing forum, highlighted the importance of spending time with families to explain vaccines' importance.

She told the Liverpool audience: ‘If people come to you and say, well I’ve decided to not have our vaccination until after he’s learnt to talk – that isn’t a one or two-minute conversation; that’s a long conversation and it might mean a number of visits.’


Neil Thompson. Picture: John Houlihan

‘Fake news and propaganda’

Louise Cahill, from Greater Bristol branch, cited a project in Europe that found no link between mandatory vaccinations and their uptake, and said they are difficult to police.

'They do not build confidence and they do not stop the spread of fake news and propaganda,’ Ms Cahill said.

Ms Cahill suggested nurses need to understand the ‘fears that lead people to choose not to vaccinate’.

Neil Thompson, from the safety reps committee, said that although he struggled with the concept of compulsory vaccination, he did have concerns for people relying on herd immunity.

Read all the latest from RCN congress 2019 


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