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Cliff A, Smallman-Raynor MOxford: Oxford University Press; 2013

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A court order does not guarantee that a child will be immunised

02 February 2017
5 min read
Volume 25 · Issue 2

Abstract

Despite evidence of its health benefits, immunisation remains a contentious issue for some people. Richard Griffith explores the court's limited role in ensuring parents have their children immunised.

Childhood immunisation is a key tool in health protection and disease control used by the government to discharge its obligations under the European Social Charter 1961, Article 11, which requires that the UK protects health by:

‘Either directly or in co-operation with public or private organisations, to take appropriate measures designed:

  • To remove as far as possible the causes of ill-health
  • To provide advisory and educational facilities for the promotion of health and the encouragement of individual responsibility on matters of health
  • To prevent as far as possible epidemic, endemic and other diseases'
  • Childhood immunisation is also the main instrument in the government's campaign to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) target for interrupting indigenous measles, mumps, congenital rubella, poliomyelitis, neonatal tetanus, and diphtheria transmission (Cliff and Smallman-Raynor, 2013).

    However, rates of immunisation have fallen over public concern about the safety of vaccines, and the consistent failure to achieve the 95% rate required to achieve population or herd immunity needed to effectively interrupt the transmission of measles resulted in a major outbreak of the disease in Swansea in the summer of 2013.

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