19th August 2019– Following a marked increase in measles cases in 2019, the World Health Organisation has confirmed that the UK has lost its ‘measles free’ status. Unicef UK responds below.
Liam Sollis, Head of Policy at Unicef UK, said:
Today’s news that the UK has lost its ‘measles-free’ status is further proof of the urgent need to combat the harmful anti-vax narrative that has infiltrated social media. The fact this disinformation is shared on the very platforms we use to speak to our friends and share photos of our babies, leaves parents confused and unable to distinguish truth from rhetoric. We need to ensure that there are easy means for the public to report misleading anti-vax content.
This mechanism should also be accessible to children and young people, who are arguably social media’s biggest yet most vulnerable users. Vaccine hesitancy is a complex problem and needs ongoing leadership from the Government supporting GPs and health professionals to increase coverage rates.
It is also vital that technology and social media companies signpost those searching for answers to responsible and accurate sources, such as the NHS website, thereby helping parents and children feel informed, able to trust in accurate sources and make the right choices to protect their health.
Notes to editors:
For more information, please contact:
Unicef UK Media Team, 0207 375 6030, firstname.lastname@example.org
Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK.
For more information please visit unicef.org.uk