Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is part of routine protection for children in B.C. (Black Press files)

B.C. launches immunization program at schools to stamp out measles resurgence

Vaccination records to be checked at B.C. schools next fall

The B.C. government is rolling out a “catch-up” immunization campaign to fill gaps in measles protection, beginning in April.

Increased immunization has already begun spontaneously after news about the latest outbreak in Vancouver prompted increased visits to doctors and public health clinics in all regions of the province. The target is 95 per cent immunization across the population, after a decline in the rate in recent years.

“We’re taking advantage of real momentum right now,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “We know that there are very few people in B.C. who are against vaccines.”

Clinics in schools, public health clinics and mobile clinics in some regions are being prepared for immunization in April, May and June. Part of the program is to help people update their records, as well as making sure children receive two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) as they go through their school years.

Dix said details will be announced later of the mandatory vaccine record check that is expected to be in place next fall for schools. Exemptions for medical or “philosophical reasons” will be available, he said.

Public health officials are seeing a resurgence of measles, particularly in the Philippines and the U.S. There have been 19 confirmed cases in B.C. since January, when infections were detected in Washington state.

The first measles, mumps, rubella vaccine is given to infants at 12 months and children aged four to six. The B.C. health ministry has immunization schedules online.

Measles is highly infectious and spreads through the air by coughing, sneezing and carried on breath. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest.

As with other infectious illnesses such as influenza, people with measles can infect others before symptoms appear.

READ MORE: Eight measles cases confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

READ MORE: Measles outbreak in Washington sparks B.C. warning

Eight measles cases popped up in February among students, staff and family members at a French-language high school in Vancouver. Vancouver Coastal Health officials determined that the infection came to the community from travel outside North America. An earlier case in Vancouver was a man who travelled to the Philippines.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control issued its first warning of the year in late January, after Washington state declared a state of emergency with 32 measles cases during the month.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Alleged Abbotsford crime boss loses bid for jail release while awaiting extradition hearing

Jazzy Sran is accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into Canada from the U.S.

Family of Chilliwack pilot killed in Honduras crash creates memorial scholarship fund

Parents, sister of Patrick Forseth fundraising to pay to send aspiring pilots to flight school

RCMP use helicopter and police dog to search for suspect on Sts’ailes First Nation

Man known to police fled an allegedly stolen vehicle and firearm on the reserve north of Chilliwack

Public hearing Monday for huge development near downtown

A 599-unit development has been proposed for a large site just north of the historic downtown

Golf tournament raises $74,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Money goes toward mentorship programs for 500 Fraser Valley children

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read