School gates are becoming a fertile ground for damaging myths about MMR vaccination, warned the NHS General Manager England.

Misinformation is apparently transmitted by parents, which affects the judgment of others, said Simon Stevens.

Stevens also called the World Health Organization's decision to declare the UK "without concern".

Write in the Daily mailStevens said: "Last week, it was confirmed that the vaccination rate of two-year-olds receiving their first dose of MMR had dropped for the fifth year in a row, reaching 90.3%, leaving one in 10 children at risk.

"What is crucial is a rate below the 95% threshold where a critical mass of people is protected, which creates a" collective immunity "that ensures the safety of the entire population."

Mr Stevens said the statistics were particularly important because the lives of children who can not be vaccinated – for example, if they are being treated for cancer – depend on the fact that other children have been vaccinated to fight against the infection.

He wrote, "Since parents are often inspired by moms and dads, we need to adopt a zero tolerance approach to misinformation, while the government's strategy to improve immunization levels will help stimulate action.

"Abandoned vaccination rates mean that many more people are vulnerable and at risk, and all it takes for an entire society to be at risk, is that a person gets a disease and starts a contagion. "

His speech follows a similar warning issued this week by the outgoing government chief of government, who said he believed England should consider introducing mandatory vaccines.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said she hoped that other measures could be attempted in the first place to stem the decline in vaccination rates, but that it was essential to prevent the spread deadly diseases.

Support free journalism and attend independent events

She said, "We need to increase our vaccination rates. I hope we can do it in other ways, but if we can not, we might end up with the obligation. "