Nine confirmed cases of measles in Vancouver have led to an ongoing discussion about vaccinations in Canada. This particular outbreak is linked to one family whose children never got their MMR vaccine which protects against measles. Now, the ongoing outbreak is leading young Canadians to get vaccinated, even if it's against their parents' wishes.
According to doctors, specifically in BC, the number of Canadian teens and young adults going to get the MMR vaccine has been on the rise since this outbreak first started. Dr Eric Cadesky, who is the president of Doctors of BC, said he's seent he rise in young patients coming to get vaccinated himself, but he's also heard from other doctors that it is happening everywhere.
Cadesky says recently young people are coming in wanting to get vaccinated despite their parents' decisions for them not to. "I've heard of people throughout Canada and even doctors around the world saying that millennials are using these outbreaks as an opportunity to revisit the decision that their parents had made for them," he told CBC.
Canada's chief health officer, Dr Theresa Tam also weighed in on this wave of later in life vaccinations saying "I don't think it's too late ever to get your measles immunization up to date."
In Canada, the MMR vaccine covers not only measles but also mumps and rubella, hence the name. Typically it is given to children in two dose, the first when kids are around one year old, and the second anytime between 18 months and when they start school.
However, in some cases, people weren't vaccinated on that schedule. For example, anyone born between 1970 and 1996 likely would have received only one dose of the MMR vaccine, since the second dose method wasn't added until 1996. There are also all the people whose parents chose not to get them vaccinated.
If you have never been vaccinated or infected then your immunity to measles, mumps, or rubella, is zero. If you only had one dose of MMR then your immunity is around 85 to 95%. After two doses of the vaccine, immunity is nearly 100%.
It's because of these high immunity numbers that chief health officer, Dr Tam says that the MMR vaccine is one of the most effective vaccines doctors have when it comes to preventing diseases.
Currently, in BC nine cases of measles have been confirmed. Meanwhile, 36 people without proof of vaccination have been asked to stay home from a Vancouver school for further notice in order to prevent the spread of the outbreak.