B.C.’s measles immunization catch-up program

What is the measles immunization catch-up program?

The BC government and Island Health are making it easier for children 18 and under on Vancouver Island to get up-to-date on their immunizations. A provincial measles catch-up program is underway, helping families protect their children against measles. 

Parents of eligible children who are not up-to-date for measles vaccinations are being contacted by Island Health. The program runs until the end of June, and provides measles vaccine for children who have not begun or completed their series. 

Where will my child get their immunizations?

Immunization clinics will be provided at schools and local public health units. Watch for information from your child’s school.

Visit islandclinics.ca for clinics near you.

Measles catch-up at Island Health by the numbers:

  • Over 7,300 measles vaccinations administered between February and April 2019, which is double what was administered the previous year.
  • 93,111 students in kindergarten to grade 12 in the Island Health region
  • 104,000 letters sent home with students, April 2019
  • 10,466 immunization records checked, April 2019

Why do we need a measles vaccine?

Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through the air. At least 95% of the population needs to be immunized to develop herd immunity. As of March 2019, 74% of 7-year olds in the Island Health region are fully immunized against measles.

Is my child immunized?

Children are eligible for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12 months and 4 years of age. Check your child’s records to see if they are immunized. Parents of eligible children who are not up-to-date for measles vaccinations will be contacted by Island Health.

How do I access my child’s immunization records?

Records of immunization will be sent home through your child’s school. If your child’s immunizations were provided by a doctor or pharmacist, contact that provider.

Do I have to participate in this program?

This program is voluntary and is intended to help parents report their child’s vaccination status. The province will require parents to report the vaccine status of all school-aged children attending BC schools this fall 2019.

What if my child is home schooled?

Children who attend home school can be immunized at a public health unit. Call to schedule an appointment.

Measles symptoms and updates

Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, diarrhea and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest.  If you develop symptoms, please contact your health care provider before you visit them so they can take precautions to prevent transmission of measles to others.

I need more information about measles.

Call 8-1-1 for information any time or visit healthlinkbc.ca.

Learn about measles at https://immunizebc.ca/measles.

For current measles updates, visit islandhealth.ca/measles-updates 

Call one of our measles information lines for more information:

South Island: 250-544-7676 ext. 27545
Nanaimo/Ladysmith/Gabriola: 250-755-3388
Courtenay/Comox Valley: 250-331-8599
Campbell River and area: 250-850-2120
Mt. Waddington/Port Hardy: 250-902-6079

For the Cowichan Valley, Alberni-Clayoquot, and other communities if you have questions, please contact your local public health unit.

Learn more about immunization.

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