Mandatory vaccination records urged for schools

Canadian Medical Association wants disclosure for all students, and a national database to help control disease spread

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall

With communicable diseases such as whooping cough, mumps and measles making a comeback, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall is reminding parents to make sure their children’s vaccines are up to date as they return to school.

And Kendall has added his voice to that of the Canadian Medical Association, calling for mandatory declaration of vaccination when children enrol at school, as is done in Ontario and New Brunswick.

The CMA voted at its annual meeting in late August for other provinces to follow suit, requiring immunization records but allowing exemptions for medical or religious reasons. Doctors also called for development of a national database to pull together records scattered between doctors’ offices and schools.

“By the time a child reaches five or six years old, he or she should have received booster shots that protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, whooping cough and more, and kids in Grade 6 and 9 should receive follow-up vaccinations,” Kendall said. “This is all part of B.C.’s free, routine immunization program.”

Kendall emphasized that vaccinations themselves would not be mandatory, but the information would give schools the ability to protect students when an outbreak happens. That means excluding unvaccinated children from school during an outbreak, and offering parents the chance to fill gaps in their protection.

“Unvaccinated children are at risk themselves, but they also pose a risk to others because they create a gateway into the community,” Kendall told CKNW radio this week. “So we need the concept of herd immunity, where we get 95 per cent of the population of a cohort of children vaccinated, so it’s much harder for disease to spread in the community.”

Vaccine records also give public health authorities a chance to counter misinformation that has proliferated in recent years, he said.

“If we know who the parents of those children are, we can talk with them and tell them the facts and what is real and what is not real, and hopefully convince a good proportion of them that what they’re actually fearing is either unreal or not scientifically valid, or is in fact a misplaced fear,” Kendall said. “And we would hope that we would get some of those parents at least to get their children vaccinated.”

Parents in B.C. can now sign up for free text message reminders here, and the website also offers a smartphone app to manage immunization records.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Two people, dog escape house fire in Chilliwack

The early-morning blaze started around 6 a.m. on Third Avenue

Chilliwack Chiefs host Langley as Sardis Sports Complex opens

The BCHL teams will play a preseason game on the new ice sheet Aug. 29.

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Envision Financial hosting barbecue fundraiser at Chilliwack’s Sardis Park to help fire victims

Residents of the Park Ridge apartment building are struggling in the wake of the devastating fire.

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okanagan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Most Read