B.C. Health MInister Adrian Dix (Black Press)

Measles vaccine registry likely for B.C. schools this fall

Outbreak has people coming forward for immunization, Adrian Dix says

New regulations are on the way to ensure B.C. students are vaccinated for measles when school resumes this fall, Health Minister Adrian Dix says.

The province has the authority under the Public Health Act to require it, and Dix said Tuesday he is optimistic that regulations can be in place by September. It was recommended by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry after the latest detection of B.C. cases in recent weeks, and in 2014 after an outbreak in the Fraser Valley led to 342 cases.

Since public health officials warned of possible exposure to the measles virus in Vancouver, Richmond, Squamish and Whistler, there has been significant public interest. Dix said 8,000 people have come forward for the MMR (measles mumps rubella) vaccine in the Vancouver Coastal health region since the warning was publicized.

“People are responding to this,” Dix said. “Being immunized is not just important for your child, it’s important for children who for medical reasons can’t be immunized.”

READ MORE: Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

READ MORE: No treatment for highly infectious measles virus

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson urged Dix to arrange for “retail level” options for obtaining the MMR vaccine, such as clinics in schools and at pharmacies. Dix said the vaccine is available free from doctors’ offices and public health offices around the province.

Wilkinson said many people do not have their children’s vaccination records up to date, and should be given a drop-in option to make sure their immunity is sufficient.

READ MORE: 70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

Mandatory vaccination for schools is more complicated than simply passing a regulation, Dix said in an interview. There are medical exemptions and “ideological reasons” that have to be accounted for, and indications that public education may be more effective.

Ontario has mandatory vaccinations for schools and a province-wide rate of 91 per cent protection, which is short of the 95 per cent level public health officials target for “herd immunity” that prevents most exposure.

Newfoundland and Labrador have the highest level of immunization at 96 per cent, with no requirement in place, Dix said.

Dix agreed with Wilkinson that information packages and posters would assist in getting the word out, and those will be made available to MLA offices.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Abbotsford hopes to restrict new marijuana grow applications

After provincial rule change this spring, city left looking to craft its own rules

Abbotsford to boost transit faster than first planned

City to get 12 new buses, expand service by 40 per cent, by end of 2022

No student left behind by prohibitive fees, Abbotsford officials say

Approved 2019/20 fees include non-mandatory cost of school supplies

VIDEO: Protection for Abbotsford burial site urged by First Nations, developer

Dozens of First Nations leaders gather on grassy plateau to call on action by provincial government

Mt. Baker climb next month honours Const. John Davidson

Abbotsford Police chief and Davidson’s three grown children among participants

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read