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UK Government calls on social media companies to fight misinformation surrounding vaccines

Published on 19/08/19 at 09:52am
Image Credit: Annika Haas (EU2017EE)

Boris Johnson has called on social media companies to come together to discuss ways in which they can promote accurate information about vaccines.

In an effort to meet 95% rates of coverage for both doses of the MMR vaccines in Britain, the Prime Minister has called for a summit of social media firms to discuss the part they can play in tackling misinformation surrounding vaccines.

Johnson has also called for an update to the NHS’ information online by offering evidence based advice on vaccine to address people’s concerns.

Speaking at a hospital in the South West of England, Johnson is set to say: “After a period of progress where we were once able to declare Britain measles free, we’ve now seen hundreds of cases of measles in the UK this year. One case of this horrible disease is too many, and I am determined to step up our efforts to tackle its spread.

“This is a global challenge and there’s a number of reasons why people don’t get themselves or their children the vaccines they need, but we need decisive action across our health service and society to make sure communities are properly immunised.

“From reassuring parents about the safety of vaccines, to making sure people are attending follow-up appointments, we can and must do more to halt the spread of infectious, treatable diseases in modern-day Britain.”

The announcement comes as rates of children receiving a second dose of the MMR vaccine fell to 87%. The Government hope to push that figure up to 95%.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It’s easy to forget how devastating measles can be precisely because vaccines are so effective at preventing it in the first place.

“With this strategy, the whole health system will come together to renew focus on vaccinations – especially for our children – and this time we will eliminate measles for good.”

This autumn the Department of Health and Social Care is set to publish a strategy to boost uptake f vaccines which will see measures taken to make it easier to book appointments, and increase education around vaccines.

The DHSC said: “Making it as easy as possible for parents to access vaccines so that they can offer their children the best possible start in life is a priority for us, DHSC and for NHS England. Through our Value of Vaccines campaign we’ll be using all opportunities to remind people to get two doses of MMR vaccine – whether that’s new parents, school children or younger adults. This will be crucial to the UK achieving elimination status again in future.”

Louis Goss

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