Gordon Brown: free jabs for children must be available before new school year

Former prime minister warns of disaster for children if routine jabs are not given out next month

Christmas is not the only time children’s Christmas wish lists could be kept on hold if the government fails to give routine jabs before the new school year, Gordon Brown has warned.

The former prime minister told MPs that the health of “seven million or more” people was at risk of being compromised if the free jabs, the flu jab and other vaccinations were not available to people when they needed them before August.

If the previous government, now in government, had implemented the National Immunisation Programme for swine flu as properly and consistently as Brown says he would have recommended, then millions of people would have had their flu jab, the hepatitis B and hepatitis C jabs, and other vaccinations by now.

A report that Brown will present to MPs later on Friday reveals that a mere 40% of people eligible for the three recommended vaccinations will have had them by the start of the new school year.

The prime minister’s spokeswoman pointed out that in 2011, Labour had committed to providing children with a complete range of immunisations in September, as opposed to having children wait until January. This had been done, she added, to promote health.

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