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

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

COLUMN: 1919 – Police chief reminds drivers of streetcar etiquette

Greg Scott takes us back to a century ago in the files of the Nelson Daily News

Nelson archers host meet

The Nelson Rod and Gun Club hosted 78 archers

Family Fishing Weekend marks 20th anniversary

Event planned at Cottonwood Lake on Sunday

Screen, song, and the power of words

Anne DeGrace on the delights of the upcoming Elephant Mountain Literary Festival

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Bears have killed 17 people in B.C. since 1986

Number of bear complaints and bears killed rose sharply during same period

Three Albertans land ‘monster’ sturgeon in B.C.’s Fraser River

For angler who landed the exceptionally large sturgeon it was an ‘incredible dream come true’

Most Read