Following several outbreaks of measles around the world, and 27 confirmed cases of measles in B.C. since the beginning of the year, the government of B.C. launched a measles immunization catch-up program to ensure that children throughout the province are protected from the disease.
There are currently no active confirmed cases of measles in the Interior Health (IH) region, although two cases have been confirmed in 100 Mile House.
As part of the provincial program, IH is offering additional opportunities for children in the Interior to get caught up with the Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine. Two doses of the MMR vaccine offers the best protection against measles.
Interior Health’s catch-up program includes offering vaccine through school-based immunization clinics, drop-in clinics at public health centres, and through community pharmacists. The goal of this program is to ensure that getting children protected against measles is simple and convenient for parents across the region.
The first thing for parents to do is check their children’s immunization records to ensure they are up-to-date (check http://bit.ly/2vePCKU for tips on how to find out if your child has been vaccinated). If your child has not had any measles vaccines, or has only had one, there are three ways to get her or him vaccinated as part of the catch-up program.
School-based immunization clinics: Clinics in schools offer parents a convenient and accessible way to have their child caught up with immunizations. In the coming weeks, IH will be offering MMR immunization clinics in approximately 400 schools across the region for students in Grades 1-12. One dose of MMR vaccine will be offered at these clinics to students who require a first or second dose. School clinics are expected to run from early May to June.
A letter was sent to parents earlier this month providing information about the Measles Immunization Catch-Up Program (if you did not receive a copy, you can read it at http://bit.ly/2UNS2z8). Consent packages will be distributed to parents/guardians of students in Grades 1-12 in the coming weeks.
Community drop-in clinics: Immunizations are also available at all community public health centres across the region for children in Kindergarten to Grade 12 who do not have two documented doses of MMR. Appointments are normally required, but as part of the Measles Catch-Up Program, clinics have been staffed to accommodate drop-ins.
Drop in, or call ahead to schedule an appointment. Immunizations are available during business hours, Monday to Friday. For more information about the public health centre in your community and its hours of operations, please visit https://immunizebc.ca/finder.
Community pharmacists: Local pharmacies across Interior Health also offer MMR vaccines. Call ahead to ensure vaccine is available.
If you have questions about measles, immunization, or your child’s immunization record, please contact your local public health centre to speak with a nurse.