§ Mr. Carter-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is his Department's policy towards rubella vaccination of infants;
(2) what action he is taking to increase the take-up of rubella vaccination by girls in independent schools; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Moyle
Vaccination against rubella was introduced in 1970 on the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and is offered to all girls between their eleventh and fourteenth birthdays and to women of child-bearing age who have been shown to be sero-negative by a preliminary blood test. The joint committee does not consider that rubella vaccination of infants is advisable because there is some doubt as to whether the antibody response will still be effective when the girls reach the age for child-bearing.
Independent schools are not covered by the school health service and are free to decide whether they wish to accept advice issued by my Department. Information is not available on the rubella vaccination programmes adopted by these schools but the normal NHS facilities are, of course, available to their pupils.