St Albans councillors say children should not be given school places if unvaccinated
PUBLISHED: 10:53 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:29 14 October 2019
Children who have not been vaccinated against measles should not be allowed a place in a Hertfordshire school, councillors in St Albans have claimed.
Conservative Cllr Richard Curthoys believes parents should have to prove their children have had the vaccinations before starting school, and his views were backed in a meeting of St Albans district council last week.
He said: "We need to protect all children, adults and school employees against the spread of this potentially fatal disease, and we should make parents realise that we are not prepared to put up with any risks associated by irresponsible actions.
"So if you want to get your child a school place in Hertfordshire you should get them protected and prove it."
Cllr Curthoys pointed to a recent outbreak of measles in Europe, where 83,000 cases had been recorded.
He also said that while the World Health Organisation recommends 95 per cent of the population should be vaccinated, in St Albans that figure is just 87.5 per cent.
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The motion received unanimous backing from the council, and council leader Cllr Chris White will now write to Herts county council - as the local education authority - to ask them what steps could be taken to ensure children are vaccinated by September 2020.
Cllr White said it was "almost unbelievable" to be having this debate in 2019, and that the statistics were "truly frightening".
He said: "I can't believe that, when we have such a wonderful thing as vaccination, you would actually find reasons why you wouldn't immunise your child.
"And if one person does it, it doesn't really matter because the 'herd immunity' sticks.
"But now it is becoming increasingly common and it's backed by a fantastic set of allegations."
During the debate it was revealed that Mayor of St Albans Cllr Janet Smith suffered from measles when she was 18 months old, and then caught an ear infection which gave her hearing loss in her right ear.
Labour Cllr Katherine Gardner said that the Mayor's experience alone should be enough for councillors to support the motion.
It was also highlighted that academies have their own admissions policies and could only be influenced at secretary of state level.