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

Wet’suwet’en clan launches civil lawsuit against Coastal GasLink

Gidimt’en seeking damages and costs over destruction of logging road encampment and gate

“Does Kirby care?” Heiltsuk Nation 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

“No excuse” for killing of two young grizzly cubs

Reader hopeful someone will come forward with information

UPDATE: U.S. firm fined $2.9M for fuel spill that soiled B.C. First Nation territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

B.C. teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Memorial bench painted by Vancouver woman to stay in park for now

Park board to look at options for artistic enhancements on commemorative benches

Most Read