Since there has been an outbreak of measles cases in Vancouver since January, an online petition to make vaccinations mandatory in BC has gained a lot of attention and support from local residents. With numbers growing every minute, it looks as though people are taking the idea of mandatory preventable measures extremely seriously.
The measles virus has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind since the beginning of this year. The first confirmed outbreak of measles occurred in February and since then, eight other cases have been confirmed by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).
According to VCH, Vancouver is under the acceptable average for vaccination rates.VCH has stated that a 90% vaccination rate or higher will ensure that people can protect themselves as well as others from preventable diseases. Data provided by VCH shows that Vancouver only has an 83.1% measles vaccination rate.
In wake of this data and recent events, a petition entitled Mandatory Vaccines in BC (with medical exemptions) was posted on change.org. The goal was to have 35,000 people sign. As of publication date, the petition has seen over 33,000 signatures with more being accumulated with every website visit.
I love that BC wants to make vaccinations mandatory (health willing)— 🍓strawberry🍓 (@strawbrysfw) February 20, 2019
While it is recommended that all children receive vaccinations, it is not mandatory. According to the petition, vaccination records are not mandatory upon enrolling children in BC schools. “The current policy is that if there is an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, those without vaccines are requested (but not forced to) stay home,” writes the petition.
Since these records are not mandatory, residents are concerned that children who are not vaccinated are putting others and themselves at risk. The petition goes on to state that diseases such as measles have a 10 day incubation period in which the patient can be contagious with showing symptoms.
The online petition is asking parents living in BC to request that the current enrollment policy include mandatory vaccinations. The only way around this would be with a medical exception such as an allergy.
People have taken to the internet to show their support of this petition. Many people are in agreeance that public health and the safety of others should not be up for debate. Many others are questioning the ethics behind the parents of unvaccinated children.
In fact, this petition has gained so much attention that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently tweeted out that vaccines save lives. Accompanied by his tweet was an article by CBC confirming the number of measles cases in BC.
Preventable diseases like measles have a vaccination that is typically given to children in kindergarten. The first dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is normally given to 12-month-old children with the second dose given at four to six years of age.
As we can determine from the VCH data, many BC residents remain unvaccinated. Healthcare providers and travel clinics all over BC are now accepting patients who are requesting the measles vaccination.
ImmunizeBC is the quickest was to find a healthcare provider nearest you that is offering the measles vaccination. Be sure to visit their website for more information on the signs and symptoms of measles.