No one wants to vilify a parent who thinks they are doing right by their child by not vaccinating.
But there are times when a dose of outrage and an injection of common sense should be appropriate.
Now is such a time.
How many times do we have to report measles outbreaks among unvaccinated children before parents take action and ensure their children are properly vaccinated? In the end, they are only hurting their own kids if they don’t.
The current outbreak has seen eight cases of measles develop in children attending a French school in Vancouver, with reports that a baby has had to be quarantined because he was exposed to measles at BC Children’s Hospital Feb. 1.
Measles is a serious infection and can easily be spread to others.
The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCDC) has extensive information on its website outlining the risks parents take when not vaccinating their children. Also at risk are unvaccinated babies, those born after 1970 and people who have had no doses or only one dose of measles vaccine.
Vaccination is now seen as the best way to prevent the spread of the disease and even the College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C. has updated its immunization standard, preventing naturopathic doctors from counselling, advertising or recommending against vaccination.
This is good news.
It wasn’t long ago when Terry Fox secondary in Port Coquitlam had to go on high alert, with nurses scouring vaccination records, after a student contracted measles during a trip to China. The worry at the time was that unvaccinated students would contract the disease, prompting the school board at a time to call for mandatory vaccination records for all students.
The current outbreak is linked to children who contacted the diseases while on a trip to Vietnam, and it's often the case that measles originates outside of the country and travellers bring it home.
This is an outrage. Fortunately, the majority of parents do vaccinate their children. A rate of 95% of the population for two-year-old immunization is best to help protect the community from disease, according to Fraser Health. In the Tri-Cities, the rates are between 72% and up to 90%, depending on the neighbourhood.
But there are instances where parents may have to update their child’s vaccinations, and it’s never too late to do so, according to BCDC.
Why wait? This is not something to let slide. In the parenting handbook, vaccinating your kids with both required doses is job 1.