Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is part of routine protection for children in B.C. (Black Press files)

B.C. launches immunization program at schools to stamp out measles resurgence

Vaccination records to be checked at B.C. schools next fall

The B.C. government is rolling out a “catch-up” immunization campaign to fill gaps in measles protection, beginning in April.

Increased immunization has already begun spontaneously after news about the latest outbreak in Vancouver prompted increased visits to doctors and public health clinics in all regions of the province. The target is 95 per cent immunization across the population, after a decline in the rate in recent years.

“We’re taking advantage of real momentum right now,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “We know that there are very few people in B.C. who are against vaccines.”

Clinics in schools, public health clinics and mobile clinics in some regions are being prepared for immunization in April, May and June. Part of the program is to help people update their records, as well as making sure children receive two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) as they go through their school years.

Dix said details will be announced later of the mandatory vaccine record check that is expected to be in place next fall for schools. Exemptions for medical or “philosophical reasons” will be available, he said.

Public health officials are seeing a resurgence of measles, particularly in the Philippines and the U.S. There have been 19 confirmed cases in B.C. since January, when infections were detected in Washington state.

The first measles, mumps, rubella vaccine is given to infants at 12 months and children aged four to six. The B.C. health ministry has immunization schedules online.

Measles is highly infectious and spreads through the air by coughing, sneezing and carried on breath. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest.

As with other infectious illnesses such as influenza, people with measles can infect others before symptoms appear.

READ MORE: Eight measles cases confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

READ MORE: Measles outbreak in Washington sparks B.C. warning

Eight measles cases popped up in February among students, staff and family members at a French-language high school in Vancouver. Vancouver Coastal Health officials determined that the infection came to the community from travel outside North America. An earlier case in Vancouver was a man who travelled to the Philippines.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control issued its first warning of the year in late January, after Washington state declared a state of emergency with 32 measles cases during the month.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Proposed Boston Flats Eco-Depot hits rezoning amendment hurdle

TNRD now considering way forward after third reading of bylaw defeated

Conservative candidate Brad Vis speaks at Ashcroft Tiwn Hall

Puts family first, says Conservatives will work for all Canadians

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

In 1968, an Ashcroft Art Show was an idea whose time had come

Local artists got together to form a club in 1967, and a year later a show was born

Soccer week 2: League play gets underway

Warm-up time is over as the teams get down to work

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

B.C. parents still missing out on hundreds of thousands in free money

Chilliwack financial advisor still banging the drum over unclaimed $1,200 RESP grant cash

Be wary of robot emotions; ‘simulated love is never love’

Research has shown that people have a tendency to project human traits onto robots

One million recyclable bottles ‘lost’ daily in B.C., foundation says

387 million beverage containers didn’t make it back into the province’s regulated deposit refund system in 2017

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Most Read