Your views

Readers’ panel: Should unvaccinated children be banned from school?

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said he ‘wouldn’t rule out anything’ when asked if unvaccinated children should be banned from school. Nursing Standard readers have their say

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said he ‘wouldn’t rule out anything’ when asked if unvaccinated children should be banned from school. Nursing Standard readers have their say


Picture: Alamy

Stephanie Nichols is an advanced nurse practitioner working in a GP practice in Warwickshire

It is vital that we tackle the decrease in uptake of vaccinations and increase in rates of vaccine-preventable diseases. But banning unvaccinated children from school is an extreme step that should not be taken lightly. Parents need help and support to make informed decisions about vaccinations, but so much false information is spread via social media. Nurses work hard to provide accurate information to parents – perhaps we need to start focusing this education online, where most of the anti-vaccine information is spread.

 

Drew Payne is a community staff nurse in north London
@drew_london

Since 2017 we have seen a three fold increase in measles cases. Measles is not a mild childhood illness – it can cause pneumonia and encephalitis – and we need to stop this increase now. Parents who choose not to vaccinate are not only risking the health of their own children, they are endangering the lives of other people’s children. They should be shamed for this, as should those who spread misinformation. We need to expose their lies with the wealth of evidence we have that vaccinations work.

 

Grant Byrne is a nursing student in Edinburgh
@GGByrne

Shutting children out of school ultimately punishes them for their parents’ beliefs, so before taking such a heavy-handed approach we must exhaust all other options. Education is vital in debunking the myths surrounding vaccines, and if children are excluded from school there is a risk of perpetuating this issue for future generations. Targeting information online could help, as could raising awareness of the risks of not vaccinating children. With public services already overstretched, investment in family health and schools is urgently needed.

 

Liz Charalambous is a staff nurse and PhD student in Nottingham
@lizcharalambou

Social media has fuelled the myths around vaccinations and efforts must be made to counteract the damage caused by the discredited claim of a link between autism and childhood vaccinations. But banning children from school is counterproductive and unnecessarily draconian, setting a dangerous precedent while failing to tackle the underlying problem of lack of understanding. A collaborative approach with families is preferable, providing evidence-based information to ensure children receive the best possible care.


Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity only

Related

This article is for subscribers only

Jobs