Half of Lower Mainland elementary school vaccination rates too low for measles protection


Half the Lower Mainland elementary schools have measles vaccination rates of less than 90 per cent, the threshold needed to prevent the spread of the disease, according to data obtained by The Sun from the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health authorities.

Vaccination rates for the 2012/2013 school year show the percentage of kindergarten students who received two doses of measles vaccine, the most effective way to prevent infection and transmission of the highly contagious virus.

Amid renewed concern over measles, doctors call for national vaccine registry

Photograph by: Valentin Flauraud / Reuters

Children across Canada continue to be a target for the contagious measles virus, but a growing number of adults who were never immunized, or received only one dose of the vaccine, are being infected, too.

Forced measles vaccination not in plans

.C.’s health minister says the government won’t be forcing people to get a measles vaccination despite an outbreak in the Fraser Valley.

Instead, Terry Lake says the government hopes most people heed the advice of health officials and have their children vaccinated to protect other people.

Other provinces have mandatory vaccination policies, but Lake says he’s not sure the B.C. government wants to take that step. There are two confirmed cases of measles and dozens of other suspected cases in a Chilliwack school.

B.C. gears up for measles after two new Chilliwack cases

With two confirmed cases of measles in B.C.’s Fraser Valley and about 100 other suspected cases, provincial health officials are gearing up for another outbreak of the easily transmitted, highly contagious virus.

The fight began last summer, and by fall appeared to have been successful. But because so many people have been exposed to the two new cases reported in Chilliwack, a community about 100 kilometres east of Vancouver, there are fears the disease will spread quickly in the area, where vaccination rates are low (60 to 70 per cent).

Allan Maki Reports

Measles outbreak hits Chilliwack

Health authorities are sounding the alarm after confirming two cases of measles and identifying at least 100 suspected cases in the east Fraser Valley.

The most recent exposure occurred in a school in Chilliwack in a community with traditionally low immunization rates, said Dr. Victoria Lee, spokeswoman for the Fraser Health Authority.

“We are seeing immunization rates overall declining, and that is dramatically affecting outbreaks.

Denise Ryan reports

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