EDITORIAL: Mandatory immunization

Measles cases in the Fraser Health region have now apparently doubled from the 100 reported last week...

Measles cases in the Fraser Health region have now apparently doubled from the 100 reported last week.

There are now 228 confirmed cases in the Fraser East region, which includes Abbotsford and Mission, which along with Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope are considered to be communities with low immunization rates.

Authorities are urging the unvaccinated to get shots as soon as possible.

It is highly disturbing that this situation has developed at all.

An infection of the respiratory tract, measles is a highly contagious virus that has been virtually eradicated on this continent through vaccination of children. Complications associated with the virus can be very serious, including pneumonia and brain damage.

It is the lack of immunization that is responsible for the current outbreak.

Failure to have children vaccinated – in some instances deliberate avoidance due to religious beliefs or fear – must be regarded as irresponsible and irrational.

Medical experts around the world have established that measles vaccination represents very low risks, and is absolutely necessary to keep the virus at bay.

Making personal health choices is important, but those have limitations, particularly when parents allow their unvaccinated children to  be exposed to measles contagion, and its serious possible consequences, as well as then expose others to the same illness.

A similar disregard for the rights of others is shown by those who show symptoms of measles yet do not isolate themselves from the general population, as recently found by health authorities.

It’s encouraging that Fraser Health reports a significant surge in vaccinations since this measles outbreak occurred.

It’s precisely what needs to be happening – along with mandatory measles immunization for all school children.