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Measles anti-vaxxers have blood on their hands – health secretary

The health secretary has revealed he will not rule out making immunisations mandatory, saying that anti-vaxxers "have blood on their hands".

Matt Hancock said he was ready to "consider all options", and although he does not want to impose mandatory jabs for diseases like measles, he did not rule it out.

His comments came after figures released by Unicef last week showed that more than half a million children in the UK were unvaccinated against measles between 2010 and 2017.

Image: Matt Hancock called those who have promoted the anti-vaccination myth 'morally reprehensible'

Mr Hancock told Sky News that the "science on vaccination is absolutely solid and very clear – which is that it is safe and it is right to get your children vaccinated".

He said that while immunisation is "good for (children), it's also good for the rest of the community and for your neighbours".

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He earlier told The Times that those who have "promoted the anti-vaccination myth are morally reprehensible, deeply irresponsible and have blood on their hands".

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Asked by Sky News about potential solutions, he said: "I don't want to see compulsory vaccination and I don't think we're there yet, but we rule nothing out because vaccination saves lives and the fall in the rates of vaccination has to stop."

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He admitted he was "very worried about the impact of social media on the rates of vaccination".

He said: "I've met with the social media companies about this. Some of them have already taken some action to remove lies and misinformation about vaccines from their sites, and there's more to do."

Earlier this week, a Labour MP said the government should look at making failure to immunise children a "criminal offence".

During a debate in the Commons to mark World Immunisation Week, Paul Sweeney warned that the "creeping cynicism" around the safety of vaccinations was a "real national emergency".

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