Ms McVey said the polio cases are a “worrying development”, but “not surprising to the many experts who have warned of the unintended consequences of our narrow focus on Covid-19”.
She continued: “Last summer we were specifically warned that children were not being given vital vaccines against cancer, meningitis and other devastating conditions such as polio. Are we now paying the price of the global Covid obsession?”
Ms McVey said the Covid study should examine the impact the pandemic has had on interrupting children’s routine vaccinations and the long-term impact on their health.
Last summer, government advisers warned that “vaccination fatigue” may have led to a sharp decline in the number of children receiving routine shots.
Minutes from a meeting of the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee revealed a 20 percent drop in the number of children being vaccinated against conditions such as meningitis and a “relevant drop” in MMR shot uptake.
The documents said there may have been a “catch-up” campaign and that the pressure to get GP appointments may have caused the decline in childhood vaccines.
Other members of the APPG for Pandemic Response, which scrutinize the government’s handling of Covid and the impact of emergency policies, have expressed concern about the polio outbreak.
Graham Stringer, the Labor MP for Blackley and Broughton and co-chair of the APPG, said health officials urgently need to restore “confidence in the vaccinations that children really need”.
He said there has been “a single focus of effort and resources, by the NHS and the Government, on promoting the Covid-19 vaccine to healthy children, when there are no apparent benefits” and wondered whether these efforts “would better target essential childhood vaccination programs with clear benefits”.
Chris Green MP, a Conservative MP and member of the group, said: “The economy, education and access to mainstream health care have all taken a huge blow, as have the routine vaccinations children would receive in school.
“It would be a terrible outcome if by focusing on pressuring children to take a vaccine they didn’t need, they were left vulnerable to polio.”