UK polio outbreak ‘is our price for obsession with Covid’

Ms McVey said the cases of polio are a “worrying development” but “not surprising to the many experts who have been warning of the unintended consequences of our narrow focus on Covid-19”.

She went on to say: “Last summer, we were specifically warned that children were not getting vital vaccines for cancers, meningitis and other devastating conditions such as polio. Are we now paying the price of the worldwide Covid obsession?”

Ms McVey said the Covid inquiry must examine the impact the pandemic has had on interrupting children’s routine vaccinations and the long-term implications for their health.

Last summer, Government advisers warned that “vaccination fatigue” may have caused a sharp drop in children getting routine jabs.

Minutes of a meeting of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation revealed a 20 per cent drop in the number of children being vaccinated against conditions such as meningitis and a “concerning decline” in uptake of the MMR jab.

The documents said there that may need to be a “catch-up campaign” and that pressure to get GP appointments may have caused the decline in childhood vaccines.

Other members of the APPG for pandemic response, which scrutinises the Government’s handling of Covid and the impact of emergency policies, raised concern about the polio outbreak.

Graham Stringer, the Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton and co-chairman of the APPG, said health officials needed to urgently “rebuild trust in the immunisations that children actually need”.

He said there has been a “singular focus of efforts and resources, by the NHS and Government, on promoting the Covid-19 jab for healthy children, when there are no clear benefits” and questioned whether these efforts would be “better focussed on essential childhood vaccination programmes where there are clear benefits”.

Chris Green MP, a Conservative MP and member of the group, said: “The economy, education and access to normal healthcare have all taken a huge hit, as have routine vaccinations that children would receive at school.

“It would be a terrible outcome if, by focussing on pressurising children to take a vaccine they did not need, they become vulnerable to Polio.”

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