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

COLUMN: Search for Grace shows community’s true nature

As Chilliwack searches for missing woman, a writer looks back 61 years at a similar story

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

VIDEO: Agassiz farm spreads awareness for barn owls

Miel Bernstein hopes others will learn how they can help the threatened owl species

Fraser-Cascade school district hosts by-election to fill void left by passing of Tom Hendrickson

Advance voting begins on July 17, with general voting on July 27

Chilliwack cadet takes staff position in Comox

Air cadet one of about 20,000 youth enrolled in programs across Canada this summer

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Most Read