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

Port Alberni’s Timbre! Choir celebrates diversity of music

Spring concert is scheduled for April 28 at ADSS Theatre

Alberni Valley Minor Hockey hands out hardware

Alberni Valley Minor Hockey Association wrapped up its 2018-19 season with an awards ceremony

Drag races headed back towards Alberni airport for 2019

Drag racing association receives approval, pending agreement with ACRD

Port Alberni author Gwynne Hunt releases new book

Unlocking the Tin Box is a true tale of family dysfunction

VALLEY SENIORS: Ernie and Margaret Bigelow enjoy 60 years of marriage

The couple met in Port Alberni when Ernie bought a “shack” next door to Margaret

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

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

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

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Island-born Snowbirds pilot enjoying homecoming in skies over Comox

Logan Reid once stood clinging onto the fence outside the Comox Air… Continue reading

Attack on student in Courtenay ‘way more than bullying’, says mom

A Comox Valley mother said “it was way more than bullying” at… Continue reading

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