After the governor of Washington State declared a state of emergency in connection with a measles outbreak on January 25, and with at least two cases confirmed in our province in the past week, a Metro Vancouver resident has started a petition to make vaccines mandatory in BC.
In the petition, Katie Mary writes that as it currently stands, vaccine records are not required for children to enrol in schools.
The current policy, she writes, “is that if there is an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, those without vaccines are requested (but not forced to) stay home.”
The biggest problem with this, however, “is that most of the diseases (chicken pox, measles etc) have a 10-day incubation period in which the patient can be contagious without showing symptoms.”
This, she explains, “puts our weakest children (cancer patients, immuno compromised) at great risk.”
She notes that the number of outbreaks continues to increase each year, and writes that “it’s time to get back to eradicating these preventable diseases and protecting our province.”
“We parents, friends and family of the students of British Columbia request to amend our current enrollment policy to include mandatory vaccinations – except with medical exemption.”
At the time of this writing, the petition had received 2,287 signatures, with a goal of 2,500.
On Wednesday, Vancouver Coastal Health confirmed the second case of measles in the Lower Mainland.
Speaking at a press conference, Dr. Althea Hayden said that the infected individual was a minor and the case was acquired locally.
“Measles is not ordinarily transmitted here,” she said.
This is the second case of measles reported by VCH within the last week. On February 9, VCH confirmed a resident in the region had been diagnosed and was undergoing treatment.
The region includes Vancouver, Richmond, North and West Vancouver and along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, Sunshine Coast and BC’s Central Coast.