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

PET OF THE WEEK: Teddy wants a quiet home of his own

Older cat enjoys evenings spent binge-watching Bonanza

Fill a bag and help those in the South Okanagan in need

The annual B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive takes place this week in Penticton and Summerland

RDOS board remuneration, expenses come to $500,000

Costs presented in Statement of Financial Information

Summerland Ornamental Gardens holds fall plant sale

Event will be held Saturday, Sept. 21

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

Virtue, Moir stepping away but give fans in Okanagan a chance to see them skate

Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue will be performing on Oct. 6 at the South Okanagan Events Centre

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

UPDATE: Missing North Okanagan man found

55-year-old located safe and sound after initially reported missing Sept. 4

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

Update: Okanagan Costco may be on the move, council to hear plans within 6 months

Costco has submitted plans to move to a newer Kelowna location

Most Read