Should vaccines be a requirement for state schools?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
February 10, 2020, 10:24 AM GMT+0

Britons and healthcare workers say unvaccinated children shouldn’t be allowed to attend state school - but that parents shouldn’t necessarily face fines for failing to protect their children

Despite being strongly recommended by paediatricians, some “anti-vax” parents choose not to have their children vaccinated – and the UK does not currently make it mandatory.

Choosing to not immunise children can seriously endanger others who are medically unable to receive them and, as such, Britons think state schools should impose a vaccine requirement. But they do not believe that parents should be fined or face cuts to child support if they refuse to vaccinate their children.

YouGov polling of Britons who work in the healthcare industry reveals that half (50%) think children who have been intentionally left unvaccinated by their parents should be banned from attending state schools, compared to 32% who think they should still be able to attend.

Of the general population, 48% agree that children should have their vaccinations before attending a state school compared to 27% who don’t think unvaccinated pupils should be denied a place.

Despite supporting vaccine requirements for schools, healthcare workers and Britons alike are less likely to back financial punishments for anti-vax parents, with 52% of healthcare workers and 46% of the public saying parents should continue to receive the government child support even if they refuse to vaccinate their children.

Only 32% of healthcare professionals and 30% of the general population say that anti-vax should be banned from receiving childcare benefits.

Young Britons stand out from the crowd however as the only age group to be more likely to think the anti-vax parents should forgo their benefits, with 41% of those aged from 18 to 25 in favour of the restriction compared to only 31% against the idea. This compares to nearly half (22%) as many Britons aged over 65 who think anti-vax parents should lose the benefit.

Britons and healthcare workers would also be hesitant to impose direct fines on anti-vax parents, with 50% of those working in the healthcare industry and 44% of the general population opposed to the idea. Once again young Britons are the most likely to be in favour of the punishments, with 51% saying those who deny their children vaccines should face a financial penalty for doing so.

Image: Getty

See full results for the general population here

See full results for healthcare workers here