The NHS must ‘win an argument’ that vaccination is necessary to halt the spread of preventable diseases, the NHS's chief executive has said.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester last week (19 June), Simon Stevens called for the NHS to take a wider social role on issues such as vaccination, knife crime and air pollution.

He said: ‘We have to continue to win an argument that vaccination is not only safe but is a necessity.

‘We have seen outbreaks [of diseases like measles] in north London and frankly, middle-class parents are putting other people’s children at risk by not having their own children vaccinated.’

Mr Stevens added: ‘The NHS has to be front and centre not only of these debates but the action that we take in our communities.’

Last week, experts warned that although vaccine confidence is higher in the UK than the rest of Europe, it is still in a ‘vulnerable’ position as social media amplifies anxieties and mistrust.

Social media giants Facebook and Youtube announced earlier this year that they would take measures to tackle vaccine misinformation on their platforms.

Meanwhile,  in March, a major new study confirmed once again that there is no link between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.