KUALA LUMPUR, August 19 — The United Kingdom’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, has called for social media platforms to play a more proactive role in preventing the online spread of anti-vaccination messages.
This call comes amidst figures showing that more than half a million children in the country have gone unvaccinated against measles between 2010 and 2017. More than 230 cases were diagnosed in the first three months of 2019.
This has resulted in the UK losing its measles-free status, just three years after the World Health Organisation made the declaration for the country.
Increasing scepticism among parents regarding the efficacy of vaccines due to the proliferation of misguided messages on YouTube and Instagram have been blamed by the National Health Service (NHS).
In order to provide herd immunity for the population, at least 95 percent of children must receive both dosages of the MMR vaccine which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Currently, it is at 87.2 percent.
NHS England will be communicating with general practitioners to promote “catch-up” vaccination programmes, and wwith local immunisation co-ordinators in a bid to improve uptake of the vaccines.
Johnson has also called for a summit of social media companies to discuss the problem of anti-vaccination campaigns and misinformation spreading rampant online.