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How churches can help fight measles as immunity falls

by Will Hobbs
BioNTech SE 2020/ PA - Banner image

A former NHS non-executive director has informed Premier that churches can play a significant role in aiding communities in getting vaccinated, particularly amidst concerns about a concerning decline in vaccine uptake across the UK.

The UK Health Security Agency is cautioning that levels of population immunity are now insufficient to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as measles, mumps, polio, and meningitis, with vaccination rates steadily decreasing.

Recent data reveals that only 85% of children starting primary school in the UK have received both measles jabs, falling well below the targeted 95% needed to curb its spread.

Francis Davis, Professorial Fellow in the Institute of Population Ageing at the University of Oxford, underscores the potential impact of churches, noting the increasing number of individuals not reached by NHS advice and reliable medical communication.

"Churches have connections at the grassroots to reach people not connected to public services. They possess halls and facilities that can be utilized to encourage participation and engage in educational campaigns.

"At the community level, some health institutions exhibit poor community engagement. During lockdown, we witnessed mosques and churches being used to connect with individuals not typically reached."

Professor Davis encourages churches to stay informed about vaccine levels in their communities, integrate the topic into prayers consciously, and actively engage those who may not have visited their GP recently. He emphasizes a Christian duty to protect against illness.

"There's data indicating that if someone in your household has measles, the likelihood of the next two houses in either direction getting measles is about 80%. It's airborne, highly infectious, and when combined with other conditions, can be fatal. Therefore, it should be taken very seriously."










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